The recent AT resolution adopted at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva in May could have a radical impact on the lives of the estimated one billion people globally who currently do not have access to assistive products. The resolution urges member states “to develop, implement and strengthen policies and programmes, as appropriate, to improve access to assistive technology within universal health and/or social services coverage.”
The high cost of assistive products, coupled with their limited availability, are significant contributors to the massive shortfall in the provision of assistive products globally. Through the USAID-funded CLASP program, UCP Wheels for Humanity is working to address supply-chain challenges faced by donors, institutional wheelchair buyers, and service providers in order to improve product variety, reduce lead times, and ease logistical burdens.
Using a consolidation hub in China, CLASP enables buyers to place large or small orders of varying products and sizes, delivering the mobility devices that users need faster and more efficiently. CLASP stocks adult and pediatric wheelchairs, walking aids, cushions, spare-parts, and modification kits from a variety of suppliers. All products come with a standard set of promotion and support materials, which include instructions on the proper use and care of the product.
A product advisory council comprised of clinical and technical experts selects which WHO Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE) products to add to the CLASP catalogue on a regular basis. The goal of CLASP is for buyers, service providers, and other stakeholders to have access to different wheelchair models and non-wheelchair products from a number of suppliers and to consistently provide products of excellent value.