Why Assistive Technology?

For example, as of 2018:

  • 970 million people are in need of eyeglasses and low vision aids

  • 94 million are in need of hearing aids

  • 75 million are in need of wheelchairs.


Assistive technology (AT) is an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products and services. Today, over one billion people need an assistive technology (AT), yet over 900 million people (90%) do not have access to the wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetics, and other life changing AT they need. By 2050, over two billion people will need some form of AT in order to go to school, get a job, or play a full role in their families or communities

Lack of access to AT means that individuals and their families bear significant and often life-threatening consequences, including:

  • Isolation and exclusion from education, work, family, and community life

  • Poorer health outcomes including premature death, deteriorating mental health, chronic health conditions, and other secondary health complications

  • Increased costs and lower incomes, leading to higher risks of poverty and unrealised economic potential from the individual to the country level

“I have been fortunate to have access to cutting edge technologies, which has allowed me to continue with my work, and communicate my theories, thoughts, and ideas, even after my illness robbed me of my natural speaking voice. Without this technology I would be mute, a prisoner inside my own mind. My hope is that the kind of technologies I have trialled and helped develop will become easily and cheaply available to all who need them. We need to make sure this technology becomes available to those who need it, so that no one lives in silence. Please listen to me. I speak for the people you can’t hear.”
- Professor Stephen Hawking

This Partnership will revolutionise access to AT, which is necessary to achieve Universal Health Coverage and all of our ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, especially:

Cover photo: Sound Seekers