Shanghai, China | September 10, 2018
The CLASP Product Advisory Council (PAC) completed its first review of prospective CLASP products during the first week of September. Nine adult active manual wheelchairs and adult standard wheelchairs were selected for review following the circulation of the first Invitation to Bid (ITB) under the second phase of the USAID-funded Consolidating Logistics for Assistive Technology Supply and Provision (CLASP) project.
The launch of the new CLASP product catalog, and refinements to the CLASP logistical operation, come at a critical time of increased international responsiveness to the needs of people with disabilities. 194 countries adopted a resolution at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 71st World Health Assembly (WHA), in May 2018. The resolution calls upon member states to develop, implement and strengthen policies and programmes to improve access to assistive technology (AT) within universal health coverage. The resolution marks an important step in improving access to assistive technologies, including appropriately-fitted wheelchairs, for the estimated 75 million people in need.
Three-day international review process ensures rigorous product assessment
Over three days, PAC members from India, South Africa, Argentina, the United States, Ethiopia, and Tanzania participated via live-video feed to assess products against a range of established criteria including product specifications and quality, past performance, functionality, and product safety, performance, and design among other metrics. Results of the first ITB will be announced in the next few months. Newly selected products will be available for purchase in January 2019. If current CLASP products are re-selected for inclusion in the catalog, they will be made available immediately.
Second ITB to take place early next year
A second ITB for pediatric wheelchairs, walking aids, and cushions will be released during the first quarter of 2019. Subsequent ITBs will be circulated at least twice a year through the end of the project and will be informed by market research and stakeholder and buyer input that identifies needs or gaps in the CLASP product offering. Once the product classes in the current CLASP catalog are re-competed, bids will also be accepted from suppliers on a rolling basis. All products that meet minimum standards as outlined in the ITBs will undergo a rigorous, in-person and virtual review process.
Expert recommendations support WHO resolution to improve access to quality assistive products
The seven-person PAC was established in June 2018 to standardize a transparent and responsive selection process for CLASP products. Comprised of technical experts, clinical experts, and wheelchair users from Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and India among other countries; the PAC plays a central role in ongoing efforts to increase access to a diverse range of quality assistive products in less resourced settings. PAC members review and score products, ultimately providing an expert recommendation on whether a product should be added to the CLASP catalog. The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) provides a tie-breaking vote to the PAC’s four votes when needed and serves in an advisory capacity regarding product standards.
PAC membership is voluntary, and members serve for a one-year term for a maximum of up to three consecutive terms.
If you have any questions regarding the PAC or product suggestions, please email PAC@clasphub.org.