Southern Africa Federation on the Disabled (SAFOD)

The Southern African Federation of the Disabled is a non-governmental human rights organisation. It was founded in 1986 by disabled people for disabled people. It is umbrella organisation for the national Disabled Peoples’ Organisation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

In SAFOD and all its national member organisations, disabled people must be on the forefront of their own development. “Nothing about us without us”. SAFOD supports and encourages the formation of disabled peoples’ organisations (DPOs) and strengthens the existing ones.

SAFOD is the regional representative of Southern Africa to the world-wide movement of people with disabilities. Disabled Peoples’  International (DP I).

Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin

In analysing Global Health the Centre for Global Health addresses health problems and issues that transcend national boundaries, and is informed by the circumstances and experiences of countries in different contexts.

Their underlying assumption is that the world’s health problems are shared and are best tackled by the cooperative action and the sharing of innovative solutions. Our strategy is to build strong collaborative links with universities in high-income countries who have already well-established reputations in international health, as well as universities in the South and East who have developed significant expertise in global health research and are well-respected within their own countries.East who have developed significant expertise in global health research and are well-respected within their own countries.

African Decade

The mandate of the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is to facilitate the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action by governments, disabilities and non-governmental organisations.

The mission of the Secretariat is to empower government, Decade Steering Committees, Disabled Person’s Organisations and development organisations to work in partnership to included disability and persons with disabilities into policies and program in all sectors of society in Africa.

Their work is especially focused on capacity building, advocacy and lobbing and awareness raising. The Secretariat has five key programmes: HIV/AIDS, Youth and Children, Gender, Law Policy and Livelihood Opportunities and PRSP.

Disabled People South Africa (DPSA)

Was formed in 1984 by people with disabilities as a body to represent themselves. DPSA is a democratic cross-disability body made up of member organisation of disabled people in South Africa. DPSA is recognized as the National Assemble of people with disabilities by Disabled People International [DPI], which has observer status at the UN.

DPSA’s mission is to be effective and efficient democratic national assembly of all people with disabilities which mobilises people with disabilities to advocate for their rights, for the attainment of equal opportunity in an integrated social, political and economic environment.

Western Cape Network on Disability

The Network is a non-governmental body consisting of organizations of and for people with disabilities. It is committed to the promotion of equal rights and equal opportunities for all people with disabilities in the Province of the Western Cape.


Centre of Knowledge (DeafNET) is a network of knowledge and expertise in the interest of people in Africa who experience hearing loss and related communication barriers.

DeafNET is an international organisation that operates on the African continent and adjacent Indian Ocean Islands, and is registered in South Africa as a Charitable Trust, Non-Profit Organisation and Public Benefit Organisation.

Its main objectives are the particularizing, exchange and dissemination of knowledge, expertise and skills in order to empower all persons with hearing loss and related communication barriers on the African continent to achieve their full potential.

These objectives are achieved among others by facilitating and promoting education, development, training, social services, and spiritual and mental well-being to such persons.

NID – National Institute for the Deaf

 NID serves persons with hearing loss from all across South Africa and Africa. Our beneficiaries are unique individuals with varying cultural and social backgrounds.

Persons with hearing loss are a diverse group with the following distinct groups:

Pre-lingual (before acquisition of language: These persons see themselves mainly as a linguistic and cultural minority group. They use the capital letter D to indicate Deaf, referring to persons whose primary communication medium is Sign Language and who feel at home in a Deaf culture.

Post-lingual (after acquisition of language): Persons who experience different degrees of hearing loss later in life. Deaf-blind: Persons with both sight disability and hearing loss. Deaf-blindness is seen as a disability separate form deafness and blindness.

They are served by an exceptional team of specialised training, care and operational staff members. These people have a passion for helping each of the beneficiaries unlock their full potential and live a life of abundance.

Disabled children’s action group (DICAG) South Africa

DICAG was established in 1993 by the parents of disabled children. One of our main aims is to empower ourselves to educate our children in an inclusive environment.

DICAG was initially affiliated to Disabled People South Africa (DPSA), the national disabled people’s umbrella organization, but is now an independent organization. DICAG has 311 support centres, 15,000 parent members and 10,000 children actively involved. DICAG is a campaigning organization, which helps to raise the level of awareness of disability and which challenges stereotypes and perceptions of disabled people in South Africa. DICAG aims to ensure equal opportunities for disabled children, especially in education.


is the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia. Over the last 60 years, we have created value and innovation through knowledge generation:’:

Washington University

The UW is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, our region and the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked No. 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2015 rankings, the UW educates more than 54,000 students annually. We turn ideas into impact and transform lives and our world. For more about our impact, visit our news site, UW Today.

So what defines our students, faculty and community members? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.


CBM strives to remove the barriers that marginalize people with disabilities in the most disadvantaged societies in the world. It does this by working with partner organizations in these regions, by influencing policy at all levels and by responding to emergencies and natural disasters

CBM is an international Christian development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.

Based on its Christian values and over 100 years of professional expertise, CBM addresses poverty as a cause and a consequence of disability, and works in partnership to create an inclusive society for all.



Center map


Attachments related to Newsletter 16:


AOSIS – Annual report AJOD 2015

apl_low_res_english (1) (50 Priority AT List)

DeafNET Africa Conference

UN Enable Newsletter

This year is the 10th anniversary of adoption of the UNCRPD by the UN General Assembly


CSC Special Vacancy Bulletin 3 of 2016 (External Publication) (4)




Disability Lesotho Feb%2c 2016 (1) Prosthesis and orthosis customization for 3D printing

(1) TEP2016_Online_Application_Guidance_Document_Important_Information_… (1)

Tholoana_Programme_Brochure_March_2016_Final.compressed UN Enable Newslette1

(1) White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities South Africa(Cabinet Approved)SAVE THE DATE_HEDSA SYMPOSIUM_NOV 2016


Newsletter 18

 May 2017

We have gone back to the old format of the newsletter due to the fact that we could not fit information on the new template as we wanted to comprehensively report on the coming AfriNEAD conference.

 5th AfriNEAD conference – Ghana – 7-9th August.

We are so excited that our 5th AfriNEAD conference is almost upon us, and so at the beginning of March an Advance team consisting of Gubela Mji, Chairperson of Afrinead, Hillary Lane, Lieketseng Ned and Chioma Ohajunwa, visited Ghana to meet with the local organising team headed by Anthony Edusei and Sister Emily, at Collage of Health and Science at Kwama Nkrumah University of Science and Technology KNUST.  We were very encouraged with their advanced state of readiness and have high hopes for a very successful conference in a few months’ time in August.

Aim and rationale for the visit was to:

Meet with University management of KNUST with the goal of reassurance and commitment from both KNUST and Stellenbosch University regarding hosting the 5th AfriNEAD conference from 7-9th August in KNUST, Kumasi Ghana.  Meet with the KNUST conference organizing committee and revisit the draft programme and respond to pertinent questions regarding the conference plan and logistics.

We also wanted to review the conference infra-structure and meet with Anthony Edusei and his committee at KNUST, seeing where the conference will be hosted and understanding that consideration has been given and met, for people with disabilities, we are well satisfied with the progress made for hosting. Consultation also took place on the draft program, and we are confident that all is in line for a successful conference.

AfriNEAD is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and this is our 5th conference- the 3rd one outside of South Africa, and then the 6th conference will return to the Western Cape in 2020 for a review on where we are as a network.

So, with the theme of this upcoming conference being ‘Disability and Inclusion in Africa – the role of Assistive Technology’ and the closing dates for the submission of Abstracts on the 31st of May, we urge you ALL to contribute to the success of the conference by submitting your abstracts.  Do also remember that there are plenary session as well as the 8 commissions in line with the CRDP namely;

  • Children and youth
  • Education
  • Economic Power
  • Poverty, Politics and Indigenous knowledge
  • Health
  • Community based rehabilitation
  • Holistic welfare sport, recreation, sexuality and spirituality
  • Research Evidence and utilization

On the poster, for the conference – also attached – you might see that under the information for the abstracts – which the call fall under different headings.  One of the reasons for this is because Collage of Health and Science which is hosting the event at Kwama Nkrumah University of Science and Technology KNUST, is combining their annual conference with the AfriNEAD conference, which is a big support for AfriNEAD in terms of reaching medical students and their lecturers from KNUST university and so the information on the poster with its discipline related information is meant to encourage students from the university to submit abstracts but the AfriNEAD conference will still be tabled and based on the 8 commissions focusing on the theme of inclusion and role of assistive devices in this regard.

We are planning some side events before and after the conference. Some will be open to the AfriNEAD membership while others will be closed events targeting a specific audience. Not all workshops before and afterwards have been finalised, so watch out for announcements on these in the form of a newsflash – “Ghana AfriNEAD conference”. The local organising committee is busy with the conference programme and we hope at our soonest we can have a draft programme available in our website.

Ghana is the 2nd African country to gain independency (The 1st one being Sudan). It does have an interesting history on how it has continued to forge forward in advancing this democratic space for its peoples. Now it is trying to see how the rights for persons with disabilities can too be advanced and by doing – it will already be responding to many challenges that are blighting vulnerable groups in that land. For many people this might be a once in a life time opportunity to visit Ghana – so please allow an extra day for sightseeing – visit our website to locate the list of the different sightseeing venues.

Some helpful facts;

Conference registration –          $300   (1$ in R13.78) R4137

Those coming from Cape Town Flight – Cape Town – Accra = R10790

Accra – Kumasi =          R3496

By bus from Accra – Kumasi     50 Ghana Cedi (1cedi = R3.27) R163.50 – Having made the trip – 4hour, I can highly recommend this as the buses are very comfortable– so make the time to see the country- unfortunately the busses are not wheelchair friendly

Accommodation between 90 & 120 cedi per night = R294,  – R392.40

A visa is required which you can get from Dr Michael Twum-Darko – 47 Strand Street Cape Town – 3 months’ visa is R900.

Please visit the AfriNEAD webpage for registration, list of hotels and more information on this conference.

The links and events shown here are either because they groups affiliated to AfriNEAD – please see our website for our partners- or it is information passed onto us which we would like to share with you.

Please let us know if there is any news you would like us to share with the readers of this AfriNEAD newsletter, and comments and feedback are always appreciated.

Other interesting events and announcements

  1. Link to DeafNET conference

Following DeafNET’s very successful conference last year, the SABC filmed and made available these links from the conference which you can click on and view.

  1. Introduction:
  2. Red Star Method:
  3. Storytelling:
  4. Early Childhood Development:
  5. Parents and the education of their Deaf Child https://www/youtube/watch?v=12EUZKamRSg&t=2s
  6. Journey in Deaf Education:
  7. Training of Deaf Interpreters:
  8. 10th Year Anniversary:
  9. Our article on Isidimeni has been published on the university website to align with the Human Rights day. Kindly note below. Though I presented the article as coming from the staff of the CRS – they still attached my name to it – will follow this up for the outside publication.


  1. FCEI Africa – 2017 – Family centered early intervention -Conference on family centered Early childhood and hearing loss and other disabilities

This Conference will be in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 28 – 30 June 2017.

2 day conference: 29-30 June 2017

Pre-conference workshops: 28 June 2017


  1. SAFOD – Southern African Federation on Disability– – Disability Round Table Forum

20 June – 23 June 2017

Holiday Inn, Johannesburg, South Africa

SOFOD will organize the Regional Disability Round Table Forum which will bring together SAFOD       Affiliates, Disability    Researchers & Academicians, the Private Sector, Key Founders of SAFOD, International Development Partners, and other Strategic Partners with the overall aim of creating a stakeholders’ forum to reflect and re-evaluate the work of SAFOD and the disability movement in general over the past three decades within the region, as well as interrogate the future direction. The theme for the forum will be: “Reflecting on 30 years of Disability Advocacy & Activism in Southern Africa”


  1. RamUP helps the Church and people with disabilities to grow relationship, so that everyone came ‘be at home in church’.  Erna Moller of the Leprosy Mission and is also their coordinator.  They offer training course – the next one is in Pretoria on the 19th of May- please visit – latest news for more information.
  2. NAPCP – National Association for People with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy National Conference – Theme Conceive-Believe – Achieve
Cape Town: 22 – 24 May 2017 Milnerton Lagoon

Organized by Paarl School

New name, same vision, same determination

In recognizing diversity and inclusivity the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA) recently changed its name to National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).

  1. . Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health & Anova Health presents the 7th annual Rural Health research days on 18th19th May – email for more information
  2. And finally for something completely different and inspiring please read this.      

African Network for Evidence – to – Action in Disability (AfriNEAD). AfriNEAD is a regional network based at Stellenbosch University. Its aim and focus is to facilitate translation of research evidence from policy to practice for realization of the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) with in an African regional perspective.


Newsletter 17

November 2016


SAFOD –Southern African Federation on Disability, together with Washington University, Afrinead and Dimagi are piloting the mapping of Assistive devise in Africa. Based in Botswana, SAFOD has started in the 9 SADC countries, for 2016, and in 2017 they will move into the rest of Africa- Web page will be up and running shortly.


In Geneva in March for the conclusion of the Delphi system on the 50 Assistive Priority List (APL), took place. In May next year at the ISPO World Congress Mr Chappel Kannabis will present the GATE project and its significance.

AJOD- African Journal on Disability – update

Five candidates had been selected for the new editor of AJOD. A suggested put forwards was that maybe there should be an editor in chief and a board. Watch this space!



June 2016

In this newsletter we bring you up to date with some of the events which have been taking place and tell you about new ones.

A reminder: Afrinead is the African Network for the Evidence – to – Action in Disability! And so all the projects which we are involved in and report on are part of the process of realising this vision. Africa Journal on Disability – AJOD AJOD is a collaboration between AfriNEAD, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Centre for Rehabilitation Studies (CRS). It is one of the most important part of AfriNEAD, that is doing very well indeed – please do look at the attached AOSIS Annual report. The current editor, Leslie Swartz has given his time freely and has done a wonderful job, for which we thank him most sincerely. Please visit on all the latest articles. His tenure as the editor is coming to the end and below is the process of how to select new people to support the journal:

AJOD call for expression of interest for future, prospective Editor in Chief:

AJOD is an open access journal that can be found on The term of office for the current Editorin-chief, Professor Leslie Swartz of Stellenbosch University is due to expire at the end of 2017. We call now for expressions of interest for people who would be willing to take over this honorary position. Requirements for the post are:

1. Experience in academic publishing

2. Excellent written English skills

3. Familiarity with online research databases

4. Breadth of understanding of the field of disability studies

5. Good editing skills

6. Computer literacy

7. Time available to dedicate to editorial work.

Depending on applications received, the journal is considering a model whereby potential editors-in-chief may work closely together with the current editor-in-chief for a period prior to a decision being made on either side as to the suitability of the candidates for the post. Please send a brief letter explaining your vision for the journal and your role as a potential editor-in-chief together with a full CV and an example of your recent published work to by 30 July 2016. (Please note that this a paid position) Please see attachment

Development of AfriNEAD Country Working Groups (CWGs):

Part of the implementation process of one of the key objectives of AfriNEAD is the development, facilitation and coordination of CWGs. This is a way for each CWG in member countries that are affiliated to AfriNEAD to set up a system to profile their own disability research – please see attached documentation. It is in this regard that AfriNEAD has opted to use the area of assistive device/assistive technology (AD/AT) as a pilot project for AfriNEAD to initiate the start of country working groups. AfriNEAD intends to facilitate in the next 5 years a debate on an African centred approach to assistive technology with the goal of enhancing community integration of persons with disabilities (PWDs). We also believe that the area of AD/AT will also lead to other research debates on other related areas. In AfriNEAD we are more than convinced that now Africa is ready to unlock the potential and creativity that is lying dormant to ensure that people in need can access high-quality affordable assistive technology. We are in need of our partners in their various countries to start forming Country Working Groups so that at the 2017 conference in Ghana, a real focus can be applied to the progress and work of CWG. It is also in this regard that AfriNEAD has kept the membership aware of the developments of the WHO GATE project and as well as the google INFO-Map Project lead by SAFOD. We intend that in the next news – letter, we will table a step –by step template on how country working groups can be developed by each member country in preparation for the AfriNEAD conference. Please see attachment

The GATE Project:

On the 21st& 22nd March Gubela went to Geneva, along with people from different countries for the conclusion of the Delphi system on the 50 Assistive Priority List (APL). In order to have maximum possible impact, the APL needs to be supported with additional policy and legislation, resources, and personnel working within integrated health services. Hence, WHO is in the process of developing three additional tools to assist Member States to develop national assistive technology policies and programmes, as an integral component of universal health coverage. These tools include:

a. Policy: Assistive technology policy framework: WHO will assist Member States to initiate national policy dialogues to develop national assistive technology programmes.

b. Personnel: Assistive products training package: WHO will support Member States to develop the capacity of their health workforce through an assistive products training package. Provision:

c. Assistive products service delivery model: A network of specialist referral centres connected to primary health care infrastructure is needed for universal access to assistive products, and to ensure early intervention.

d. For further details: The GATE initiative is hosted by the department of essential medicines and products and works across other departments within WHO. For more information:

 The GOOGLE Project:

The Assistive Technology Information Mapping project (AT-Info-Map) that was funded by the Google Impact Challenge as one of the ‘big ideas that will use technology to expand opportunity and independence for people with disabilities’. Representatives from AfriNEAD, Southern Federation for the Disabled (SAFOD), Dimagi, and the University of Washington are tasked with this newly funded initiative, AT-Info-Map, that aims to map the availability of assistive technologies (AT) in Southern Africa. AT-Info-Map is a 3 year project (2016- 2019) that has the goal of mapping the availability of different types of assistive technology (AT) in 9 countries in Southern Africa. The project was launched in Cape Town on the 13th of April 2016, and In Botswana on the 18th April. The project is being piloted in Botswana where the lead organisation SAFOD is based.

The ISPO World Congress:

Is being organized by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics and will take place from 8th May to the 11th May 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. The first call for submission was made in May 2016 and the closure will be in November 2016. Visit for more information.

5 th Afrinead conference in Ghana (August 7-9- 2017):

We will keep reminder you about our 5 th Afrinead conference in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi in Ghana in August 7-9 – 2017. -the theme being: “Disability and Inclusion in Africa: The Role of Assistive Technology”.


To be held form 26 -30 September 2016, The Premier Hotel, Johannesburg South Africa. The conference will focus on; “Deaf Education; Empowering Deaf Persons in Africa through knowledge.” English to French and French to English translators; Regional, SA SL as well as International sign language interpreters will be available at the conference. Tusk Event Management is assisting DeafNET with the arrangements of the conference. Please see attachment for future details.

9th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UNCRPD:

A small South African delegation under the leadership of Deputy Minister Hendrietta BogopaneZulu will participate in the 9th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the UNCRPD to be held from 14 to 16 June 2016 at the UN Headquarters. Please see Attachment.

Dissemination of important announcements:

We are often sent request to pass on important announcements to the people on our mail lists, and we are very happy to do so. As we have a quarterly Newsletter we often have to wait till we send out our next newsletter, and this might mean that the important announcements will be sent out too late. In order to accommodate your request we shall at the end of each month send out a ‘mini’ newsletter just spreading the information. So please do forwards us you requests no later than the last Wednesday of each month.

People assessing the Newsletter:

We have approximately 350 people assessing the newsletter. When we send this Newsletter out we would like to hear from you if there is anyone else you think we should send this newsletter to. We need to get out to as many people as possible so please email us with their names and email address and for any other comments on

First deaf University in Ghana:

A point off interest is that Ghana has announced its First deaf University – got to to find out more about it.

Attachment included in this Newsletter

1. Country Working Groups

2. AOSIS Annual Report

3. 50 Priority AT List


5. UN Enable Newsletter

6. 9th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the UNCRPD

7. Political declaration –HIV Aids 2016

8. Corporate Service Centre Special Vacancy bulletin – 3 -2016 – External; opportunities for people with disabilities

Gubela Mji:


WHO Priority Assistive Products List (APL) Global Survey

You might be aware of THE GLOBAL COOPERATION ON ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (GATE) PROJECT which the World Health Organization (WHO) is compiling through the Delphi technique. Where the list stands now, is at 100, with further consultative discussion that will happen in Geneva in March 2016.

It is important that all voices from different stakeholders should be heard. Please follow the link below to find the list of the proposed assistive devices which through consultation is to be reduced to 55.

Should you wish to participate in the global survey, please follow the same link below which will direct you to participate. Please note that the survey will close by March 2016.



Concept note  WHO Model List of Priority Assistive Products

Assistive Technology (AT) is a subset of health technologies and can be defined as the application of organized knowledge and skills, procedures and systems related to the provision of assistive products. AT is also considered as an umbrella term that covers both assistive products and their service provision, including their scientific application.
An Assistive product (AP) is one of a subset of health products, which includes any product (including devices, equipment, instruments and software) especially designed and produced or generally available, whose primary purpose is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, to facilitate participation and to promote well-being. The most common examples of assistive products include wheelchairs, canes, prosthetic and orthotic devices, spectacles, low vision aids, hearing aids, supportive robots, and communication board.

Today, the world has more than a billion people with disabilities. The number of older people worldwide is increasing – from 841 million in 2013 to more than 2 billion by 2050 (1). The majority of this population will need AT to remain healthy, active, and productive – some will need more than one product. The need to access AT is becoming as important as access to any other medical/health products. However, today only 5–15% (approximately 1 in 10 persons) of the population in need has access to assistive technology (2).
Gradual functional decline is an unavoidable and integral part of the ageing process, whether one has a disease or not. The 21st century will see populations that live longer and thus need to remain independent, healthy and productive. Common medical products alone cannot solve this new emerging challenge: there will be a greater need for assistive technology (AT). Considering this, health interventions need to embrace the concept of “assistive” in addition to promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services. Gradual functional decline can neither be prevented, nor cured/rehabilitated – there is a need for assistive health intervention
including provision of assistive products. Recent years have also witnessed a dramatic rise in injuries, birth defects, noncommunicable diseases and musculoskeletal conditions, all of which make huge demands on the AT sector.
Access to AT is a fundamental right of every person in need. This basic or fundamental right was further reinforced by recent global acceptance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD identifies access to mobility aids, assistive devices and technologies as a human rights obligation that every Member State must fulfil and highlights the importance of international cooperation to improve access (5). Therefore, the countries that have ratified the CRPD need to ensure the availability of AT at an affordable cost. The CRPD entitles people with disabilities of all ages to have affordable AT as a right, a first step or precondition to equal rights and opportunities, and ensuring this right is not only a matter of national responsibility, but a matter of international responsibility.
Unawareness, unavailability, high-cost and apathy are among the key reasons for poor access to AT. As a result, nearly 90% of the population in need are often confined to their homes, living a dependent-life in poor health – excluded from participating in society, and locked into poverty. The scenario is quite similar to the poor access to medicines in the 1960s or 70s, when there were few companies, over-priced products and most medicines were only accessible to the middle/high-income population.
To change the prevailing situation and improve access to medicines for all, WHO introduced the concept of essential medicines and introduced the first WHO Model List of Essential Drugs in 1977 (3). It identified 208 individual medicines, which together could provide safe, effective treatment for the majority of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Over the years, the list emerged as the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and since its introduction it has been through seventeen revisions – almost one every two years.
The Essential Medicines List (EML) has been described as a “peaceful revolution” for its positive repercussions in international public health (4). Defining an essential medicine is an evidence-based process and includes criteria such as public health relevance, efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness. The concept of essential medicines has been an incentive to rally public opinion, mobilize resources and create more competition. It has provided a stimulus/framework for Member States to develop their own national list and promote access to the essential medicines for their population.

Like common medical products, some assistive products are more important/needed than others and the ranges of AT products are very wide – costing less than a dollar a product to thousands of dollars a product. To make the full range available and ensure its provision for everyone in need, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) is an arduous job – hence, the identification of priority assistive products is crucial. Although there are many similarities to the issues involved in priority and access of essential medicines and medical products, accessing appropriate assistive products has its own set of unique problems and challenges that urgently need solutions.
Based on the learnings of the EML, WHO plans to develop and introduce a Model List of Priority Assistive Products (APL) to assist Member States to plan policies and programmes related to the provision of AT. Like the EML, the main goal of this initiative is to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive products. This initiative will also contribute to the fulfilment of WHO’s General Programme of Work for 2014–2019, WHO’s six leadership priorities, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and WHO’s Global Disability Action Plan 2014–2021 (7). This will also support the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – Goal 3 in particular: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages (8).
Proposed definition of Priority Assistive Products: Priority Assistive Products (APP) may be defined as: those products, which are appropriate, highly needed, a must/absolutely necessary to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and health; available at a price the individual and the community/state can afford.
The “priority” criteria will be selected based on need and efficacy, especially in terms of functional gain and safety. WHO will also take into account the principles of appropriate technology (5As & Q) — Acceptability, Accessibility, Adaptability, Affordability, Availability, and Quality (9).

The WHO Model List of Priority Assistive Products (APL) will serve as a guide for the development of National Priority Assistive Products List. It is not being designed as a global standard. The proposed list is not a restrictive list – it should be considered as a start-up list. This priority list does not include all kind of assistive products, which potential users are eligible under the CRPD. The proposed list also does not imply that only priority assistive products should be provided through the public system or reimbursed by the state or insurance. The APL will include the 50 minimum assistive products needed for a basic health-care/social welfare system. The proposed list can be and should be adapted to meet National needs, based on priorities and availability of resources. Its philosophy, principles and approaches will be equally relevant to high-, middle-, and low-income countries.
WHO will develop this model list based on best available evidence and a systematic process. The Global Burden of Disease data, WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) data, World Report on Disability, ISO 9999, the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), and other WHO initiatives such as EML and Priority Medical Devices (PMD) will guide the whole process and the outcome (10, 11, 12, 13). Based on this data, the 50 products on the APL will be divided into six categories: mobility, vision, hearing, communication, cognition and environment.

Identification Process of the APP
To develop 50 APL, a five-stage strategy has been designed:
1. Scoping review including disability, Global Burden Disease (GBD) and WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) data
2. Pilot survey
3. Delphi exercise
4. Global survey
5. Global consultation

Every stage of the process will be an inclusive one ─ involving all the key stakeholders; especially ensuring user participation at every step. WHO will use the decision-making framework, as outlined in the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development, to develop the first APL (14). WHO has also carried out an in-depth reviewed of the process of other similar successful initiatives such as the EML and PMD.
1. Scoping Review
WHO has already conducted a scoping review to identify important assistive products, with the following key objectives:
1. To gather evidence on specific assistive products, and their impact on quality of life or well-being.
2. To gather evidence on which specific assistive products are most essential or used in each of the functional domains of mobility, cognition, communication, hearing, vision and also for the environment.
3. To develop an initial list of 155 Assistive Products for the Delphi exercise.
Based on the result of the Scoping Review, a preliminary list of 140 assistive products has been identified to carry out the Delphi exercise. To ensure clarity and universal understanding, ICF and ISO 9999 terminology and taxonomy has been used in developing the initial list (12).
2. Pilot Survey
WHO has conducted a pilot survey to test the 150 assistive products list and identify 50 priority assistive products following a rapid mini-Delphi exercise. It also provided a snapshot on whether this type of survey is effective in fulfilling the purpose of the study and to determine whether conducting a large-scale survey is worth the effort. Based on the pilot survey and feedback received from the reviewers, the initial list has been updated and expanded to 155 assistive products for the next step, the full Delphi exercise.
50 APL
Quality of evidence
Values and preferences
Balance of benefits and harms
Resource implication
Priority of the problem
Equity and human rights

3. Delphi Exercise
The Delphi exercise/method is a common structured tool for forecasting, and can be characterized as a method for structuring a group communication process that is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem. WHO will use the members from the GATE community and other experts, including leaders of user organizations, to carry out the Delphi exercise. An email-based Delphi exercise will be carried out in four steps:
Step 1. WHO will write to the relevant stakeholders to identify participants. WHO will use the GATE community as primary target group.
Step 2. Willing participants then will be provided with the draft list of 155 assistive products and they will be invited to suggest further additions to ensure no key assistive product has been missed out. However, participants need to justify any inclusion based on criteria mentioned above.
Step 3. Participants will receive the extended list of 150–200 assistive products. They will be asked to edit the list to 100 assistive products, based on need, supply (availability), evidence, practice, experience and cost-effectiveness.
Based on the best available GBD, disability/impairment and SAGE data and also considering global disability trend, the proposed break down of the 100 important assistive products could be as follows:
1. 30-34 products for mobility
2. 16–20 products for vision
3. 12-16 products for hearing
4. 6-10 products for communication
5. 16-20 products for cognition
6. 8-12 products for environment
Step 4. Participants will be provided with the list of 100 assistive products, which achieved maximum scoring and then they will be asked to carefully scrutinize the list and identify the 50 Priority Assistive Products; again based on the definition of , based on need, supply (availability), evidence, practice, experience and cost-effectiveness.
1. 14–18 products for mobility

2. 7–11 products for vision
3. 5–9 products for hearing
4. 2–6 products for communication
5. 7–11 products for cognition
6. 3–7 products for environment
3. Global survey
Once WHO has a list of 100 important assistive products (after completion of the third step of the Delphi exercise), WHO will carry out a Global survey to identify 50 Priority Assistive Products. An online and email-based survey will be conducted using WHO’s Lime survey tool. To ensure the best possible outcome, WHO will target two key stakeholder groups to take part in the survey: 1) service providers and 2) service receivers (users or potential users). The results of both the surveys will be analysed and compared.
4. Global Consultation (meeting of experts)
After the completion of the Delphi exercise and the global survey, WHO will organize a global consultation inviting 30 experts, representing different AT stakeholder groups (including users), to work towards developing the first WHO Model List of Priority Assistive Products (APL). The results of the Delphi exercise and the global survey will be presented at the meeting and a structured, consensus methodology will be used to develop the first WHO Model List of Priority Assistive Products (APL). The factors that determine the strength of a recommendation, as outlined in the WHO handbook for Guideline Development, will be the basis for the final recommendations.
To assist Member States to implement APL and to ensure its benefit reaches to all, especially people living in rural areas, experts will be further requested to divide the final 50 APL into two groups: 20–30 APP for Community Level (APPc) and 20–30 APP for Referral Level (APPr). Criteria for the two groups will be:
 Priority Assistive Products for Community Level (APPc) may be defined as: those priority assistive products, which can be provided at the community level by health workers/nurses/community-based rehabilitation (CBR) workers and others (non-specialists), following a short, comprehensive training programme.

 Priority Assistive Products for Referral Level (APPr) may be defined as: those priority assistive products, which can be provided at the referral level by specialist professionals within the related field.
Besides the principles of the priority concept, APP for community level will also be selected based on the nature of the assistive product, its purpose, and possible delivery method. To assist Member States to implement APL, it is very important to distinguish between APP that need the intervention of a specialist, either for fitting or training (for example, trans-tibial prosthesis; spectacles for myopia), and those products for which a specialist’s intervention is not necessary (for example, walking frame, crutches, magnifying glass).
Primary health centres and referral facilities will be interconnected to ensure primary health centres refer users when a higher level of intervention is required, and that referral facilities make use of primary health centre facilities for on-site training, maintenance, repairs and follow-up. Referral facilities are usually part of the District/Regional/National Health/Social Welfare system set-up.

WHO Model List of Priority Assistive Products (APL) is a baseline or start-up list of assistive products, which must be available for every country. It is not a restrictive list ─ it is a guide and concept, based on which every country can develop their own National Priority Assistive Products List (APL). Individual health and functional needs, goals, and environments vary widely. This list outlines only the products, which then need to be provided by trained personnel, with necessary alterations and adaptations to match every individual user’s need and as per his/her choice. In addition, such a list can provide specific ideas to potential users, their families, therapists and support networks as to what might help them to perform their desired activities. Then, if funds are not available for purchase, these same people may be able to design and build equivalent devices using best available local resources.
Developing APL is the first step to improve access to assistive products. The next step for WHO will be to develop the related training package and single-window comprehensive service delivery model, to support Member States to implement National APL provision. The ultimate goal is to realize the aim of WHO’s Global Disability Action Plan 2014–2021, CRPD, SDG, UHC ─ to ensure all users have access to assistive products of as per their need and choice, as close as possible to their own communities or home.
9 | P a g e
1. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. 2013. World Population Ageing 2013. ST/ESA/SER.A/348.
2. WHO. 2014. Concept note on Global Cooperation on Health technology. Geneva, World Health Organization.
3. WHO. 2014. WHO model list of Essential Medicines. Geneva, World Health Organization.
4. Kar SS, Pradhan HS, Mohanta GP. Concept of Essential Medicines and Rational Use in Public Health. Indian Journal of Community Medicine : Official Publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine. 2010;35(1):10-13.
5. United Nations. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, G.A. Res. 61/106 (2007)
6. Johan Borg, Stig Larsson and per-Olof Ostergen. The right to assistive technology: for whom, for what and by whom? Disability and Society. Vol.26, No. 2, March 2011, 151-167.
7. WHO. 2014. Disability and rehabilitation. WHO Global Action Plan 2014-2021. Geneva, World Health Organization (
8. Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals; United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform; Retrieved 29 May 2014 (
9. WHO. 2011. Joint position paper on the provision of mobility devices in less resourced settings. Geneva, World Health Organization, Page: 19.
10. International Organization for Standardization. 2007. Assistive products for persons with disability – Classification and terminology. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.
11. WHO. 2001. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Geneva: WHO.
12. Stephen M. Bauer, Linda-Jeanne Elsaesser, Sajay Arthanat. Assistive technology device classification based upon the World Health Organization’s, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 2011, Vol. 6, No. 3 : Pages 243-259
13. WHO. 2010. Medical devices: managing the mismatch. Geneva, World Health Organization.
14. WHO. 2014. WHO Handbook for Guidelines Development. Geneva, World Health Organization, Page: 124.

To view devices, follow the link:


Great resources can be found below:

  • Draft Resolution N1347062 – Click here for download.
  • IDA Press Release_3 December 2013 – Click here for download.
  • Post 2015 development agenda-WBU FAQ sheet – Click here for download.
  • Africa Disability Protocol Draft II for Public comment – Click here for download.
  • African Journal Of Disability:


AFRINEAD is a disability research evidence project that has been initiated in the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch within the Centre of Rehabilitation Studies. The project was founded in Cape Town in November 2007 as a network of various disability advocacy groups, local and international acedemics and researchers, health service providers and representatives from various government departments.



Version 2

Dear Friends and Colleagues

The ten year walk that the African Network for Evidence – to -Action in Disability (AfriNEAD)  completed in November 2017, has been a long encouraging journey that has afforded the network family with rich continental experience which contributed baskets of fruits filled with disability knowledge, research and understanding drawn from the living experiences of persons with disabilities (PWDs). This information on disability research evidence has been drawn from the tip to the top of the African continent. Since the inauguration of AfriNEAD in 2007 more than 18 African countries and 7 countries in other continents have pledged their support to advancing the debate on how disability research evidence can be used as a tool to accelerate the process of realizing equity and human dignity for PWD in Africa.

The network has managed to table four symposium since its formation in 2007, and one conference in 2017 in Ghana. The themes for these symposium and conference were:

  1. 2007: “Realising the rights of disabled people in Africa”. – in Cape Town
  2. 2009: “The ABC of research evidence –to Action: Putting United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) principles into action for a rights based change”. in Cape Town  
  3. 2011:  “Building communities of trust: Evidence –to- action in disability research”. – in Zimbabwe
  4. 2014:  “Intensifying disability research and practice to achieve MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) in Africa: Our experience and aspirations for the future. –  In Malawi
  5. 2017:”Disability and inclusion in Africa: The role of Assistive Technology.” in Ghana

The themes for these symposium were carefully thought and coined by both the AfriNEAD governing structure (the Core Group) and the local organizing committees in the country that hosted the symposium. I would like to draw the attention of the AfriNEAD family to the coining of the second theme for the 2009 AfriNEAD symposium whereby the UNCRPD articles and its evaluation instrument were compressed and used as a tool to develop the 9 key themes that form the basis of AfriNEAD symposium.


Commission A Children and Youth with Disability:

Commission B Education: Early to Tertiary:

Commission C Economic Empowerment:

Commission D  Development Process in Africa: Poverty, Politics and Indigenous Knowledge:

Commission E  Health and HIV/AIDS:  

Commission F  Systems of Community Based Rehabilitation :
Commission G  Holistic Wellness, Sport, Recreation, Sexuality  & Spirituality:

Commission H  Research Evidence and Utilization

A substantial number of African countries have rectified the UNCRPD, it is with this thought in mind that the 2009 AfriNEAD symposium organizers felt that by using the UNCRPD as a base for organizing the themes of AfriNEAD symposium, this will give the network an understanding on how disability researchers are responding to aspects that have been tabled by the UNCRPD for the advancement and equalization of rights for PWDs in Africa. The UNCRPD endorses the concept of mutual interdependence and Ubuntu (an African concept and principle that encourages us all, to support and assist each other) principles by highlighting the possibilities for a global approach to disability work, paying particular attention to Article 32- addressing International Cooperation:

“States Parties recognize the importance of international cooperation and its promotion, in support of national efforts for the realization of the purpose and objectives of the present Convention, and will undertake appropriate and effective measures in this regard, between and among States and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations and civil society, in particular organizations of persons with disabilities”.

The above statement highlights the need to continue holding hands and working together both at internal, regional and international levels. We ALL will agree that the 4th AfriNEAD symposium in Malawi was a special event that demonstrated the maturity of the network. We received close to hundred (100) abstracts and close to two hundred delegates attended the conference. Delegates came from both regional and international areas of the world. We were happy to see how the Malawi Organizing and Technical Committee worked hard to ensure that PWDs from Malawi attended the conference. As a network family and Stellenbosch University, we want to express sincere gratitude to the leadership of the University of Malawi.

The 4th AfriNEAD symposium in Malawi pointed to some critical issues that require us within the AfriNEAD secretariat to focus and remain resolute in building up this network to live up to its intentions. Kindly familiarize yourself with the report that is available on pages of this website.  We are proud of our AJOD journal ( It is now an accredited journal in South Africa and Norway. It also has tabled its first supplement from the 2011 symposium papers.

We also would like to introduce the AfriNEAD membership to the GATE project -Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology -which is a WHO – World Health Organization – global initiative that aim to advance the area of Assistive Technology- AT for PWDs

AfriNEAD has committed to join hands with WHO in the promotion and advancement of the this area in Africa using the AfriNEAD country working groups as a vehicle that will ensure that research, programmes and advocacy is developed in this area. In small steps we are starting to develop a focus in this area starting with a collaborative project on the mapping of service providers for AT in Africa starting with countries that are linked to SAFOD with them being the key driver of the project. Other stakeholders that are linked to the project are Washington University in Seattle and Dimagi which is a company that offers healthcare informatics services in the fields of healthcare, clinical trials and population research.

The 5th AfriNEAD conference in 2017 which was held in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana in August  2015  focused on the area of Assistive Technology. The theme for this conference was: “Disability and Inclusion in Africa: The Role of Assistive Technology”. It was decided in the 4th AfriNEAD conference in 2014 in Malawi that AfriNEAD symposium will be in future now conferences to ensure better access to funding opportunities. The academic staff of KNUST have taken seriously the issue of assisting and encouraging their university to integrate disability issues in their academic programmes and have now a BSc in disability and Rehabilitation and MSc in disability Studies.

The 2015 deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had now gone and passed. Organs such as the UN- United Nations -General Assembly in 2011, the 2013 High-level Meeting on Disability and Development and the international community have a critical opportunity to ensure the inclusion of disability in the emerging post 2015 MDG agenda. We, as the AfriNEAD family – our experience and aspirations for the future in research evidence includes the drawing of knowledge and wisdom from the lived experiences of persons with disabilities to guide the way forward for the inclusion of disability issues in the post 2015 MDG agenda. At the cornerstone of this post MDG response to disability issues is the adoption of a rights-based vision for change stated in the UNCRPD which includes an expression of linkage to human rights; accountability; empowerment; full participation of all relevant stakeholders; and non-discrimination and attention to vulnerable groups. Our perception within the AfriNEAD family is that these are the indicators for good practice when trying to turn theory into practice – they are the soul of good scientific practice. We believe that research evidence can only fully realize its objectives when it is intertwined with the inspiration and the souls of people with disabilities.

Dr. Gubela Mji,

Chairperson: The African Network on Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD)




We invite you to become a member of AfriNEAD:

All you need is an e-mail address and an interest or involvement in disability research in Africa.

Please complete the form below and we will send you regular information and updates on AfriNEAD’s activities.


AfriNEAD is based at:

The Centre for Rehabilitation Studies
Medicine and Health Science Faculty
Stellenbosch University
P.O. Box 241
Cape Town
South Africa

Tel: +27-21-938 9090
Fax: +27-21-938 9740
Fax-to-email: 086771 1725 or
Skype: Gubela.Mji

Contact Person: Gubela Mji or Hillary Lane

Fill in the below form and we will contact you.