Saira terms assistive products as right of disabled persons

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ISLAMABAD, May 25 (APP): Minister of State for National
Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Wednesday said access to assistive products is not a privilege but a right of every person with disability.

She was addressing the World Health Assembly in Geneva on the launch of an essential priority list of assistive devices and
products for the disabled across the world.

She said the government of Pakistan was working on various projects in relation to assistive technology and rehabilitation for disabled persons, says a fax message received here.

She added such priority assistive products list included
hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, spectacles,
artificial limbs, pill organizers, memory aids and other essential items for older people and people with disabilities for live healthy, productive and connected lives.

The priority assistive products list aspires to follow in the
footsteps of the WHO model list of essential medicines, which creates awareness among the public, mobilizes resources and stimulates competition.

She said the priority assistive products list is similarly
intended to be a catalyst in promoting access to assistive
technology for everyone, everywhere.

“We are all living longer and as we get older we will all need
assistive products to help us to continue to go about our daily lives, to be productive and to stay connected to the world.”

WHO estimates that today, more than 1 billion people need one or more assistive products. With a global ageing population and rise in noncommunicable diseases, this number will rise beyond 2 billion by 2050, with many older people needing two or more products as they age.

However, only 1 in 10 people in need currently have access.
This results in many missed opportunities for people to contribute to society – for younger people to access education and work, and for older people to continue to live healthy, independent lives in their own homes. Access to assistive technology offers a public health solution to meet the needs of 21st century populations.