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Product Narrative: A Market Landscape and Strategic Approach to Increasing Access to Digital Assistive Technology in Low- and Middle- Income Countries

24 November, 2020 by Ramya Venkitesh

Product Narrative:Digital Assistive Technology in text, logo of AT2030, ATscale, atscale2030.org, November 2020

The AT2030 programme and ATscale, the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology, recently launched the document “Product Narrative: A Market Landscape and Strategic Approach to Increasing Access to Digital Assistive Technology in Low- and Middle- Income Countries.”

The Product Narratives were developed by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) under the AT2030 programme in support of the ATscale Strategy.

Today, over 1 billion people require Assistive Technology (AT) to achieve their full potential, but 90% do not have access to the AT that they need. The report provides market landscapes of 3 areas of digital AT: mobile phones; screen readers; and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.

The rate of adoption of the digital AT ecosystem is supported by four cross-cutting enablers:

  • Awareness of digital AT and its accessibility by users, developers, suppliers, providers, and policymakers;
  • Availability of mobile network and internet connectivity;
  • The application of universal design and inclusion of accessibility features; and
  • Appropriate training in digital AT.

A common set of recommendations focused on improving access to the components and enablers of the digital AT ecosystem emerge from the individual product landscapes is included in this document These recommendations can be viewed as high priority areas for improving access to digital AT in low and middle-income countries.

They include:

  • Develop and adopt policies, including legislation, regulations, minimum product standards, and guidelines to support accessibility and uptake of digital AT at global and country levels.
  • Support Low and middle-income country governments to increase awareness of digital AT by including digital AT products, such as smartphones and AAC devices, on national assistive product lists.
  • Support innovating financing schemes or negotiate pricing agreements to reduce the cost of digital AT to end users.
  • Increase availability of training programmes for users, suppliers, and service providers on the importance of digital AT and digital literacy skills.

The Product Narratives will be foundational to identify and invest in interventions required to shape markets and overcome supply and demand-side barriers for priority AT. They are also a key element of the AT2030 methodology helping to identify opportunities for AT2030 and others to test innovative models of what works to improve access to AT with the potential to reach scale, through innovative products, new service delivery models and local capacity.

Download the complete report here

For accessible versions of the report please visit: Product Narrative: Digital Assistive Technology | AT2030 Programme

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