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Original Research Articles

Measuring Access to Assistive Technology using the WHO rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) questionnaire in Guatemala: Results from a Population-based Survey

Authors:

Dorothy Boggs ,

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, GB
About Dorothy
Dorothy is a Research Fellow and staff Ph.D. candidate with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. With a clinical background as an occupational therapist and a researcher at a disability INGO, she has over 15 years’ experience in rehabilitation, disability, inclusion and maternal, newborn & child health in low- and middle-income countries.
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Angelique Kester,

Liliane Foundation, NL
About Angelique
Angelique Kester, MScOT, is an Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Adviser for the Liliane Foundation and Enablement in The Netherlands. Her work focuses on child- and family empowerment, disability, early childhood development and rehabilitation on community level in low resource areas globally.
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Ana Cordón,

Wuqu’ Kawoq, Maya Health Alliance, GT
About Ana
Ana Cordón is a medical doctor who has worked as a Lead Investigator in Civil Society and Social Change for the organization Wuqu’ Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance. She works in the areas of community-based interventions to improve health care and is presently continuing her medical training at Texas Tech University.
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Jonathan Naber,

Range of Motion Project (ROMP), US
About Jonathan
Jonathan Naber is the Chief Program Officer at the Range of Motion Project (ROMP). In this role, he is responsible for ROMP programs in Guatemala, the United States, and Ecuador. Jonathan specializes in operations management and community-based rehabilitation.
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Gonna Rota,

Liliane Foundation, GT
About Gonna
Gonna Rota is a Primary School Teacher, a Physiotherapist and has a Master's in disability studies. Since 1996 she is based in Latin America working as an Advisor for CBR/CBID projects. She is currently a consultant for the Liliane Foundation and CBM in Guatemala.
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Sarah Polack

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, GB
About Sarah
Sarah Polack is an Associate Professor with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Her research focuses on disability, including on the measurement of disability/impairment in population surveys and on access to healthcare for people with disabilities.
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Abstract

Purpose: Using the World Health Organisation (WHO) rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) tool, this study aimed to estimate the population level self-reported Assistive Technology use and unmet need in the province of Sololá in Western Guatemala.

Method: Sixty-one clusters of 50 people, 2+ years of age, were selected using probability proportional to size sampling. Households within clusters were selected using adapted compact segment sampling. Participants were interviewed using the standardised WHO rATA questionnaire.

Results: A total of 2874 persons were interviewed (response rate 94%). The prevalence of self-reported unmet need for at least one assistive product (AP) was 17.1% (95% CI 14.7-19.8), use was 7.4% (95% CI 5.9-9.3) and overall need was 20.3% (95% CI 17.6-23.2). These indicators all increased significantly with increasing age and level of functional difficulty. The three most common APs used in Guatemala were spectacles (5.8%), canes/sticks/tripods/quadripods (0.8%) and pill organisers (0.3%).The most common APs reported as unmet need were spectacles (13.4%), canes/sticks/tripods/quadripods (3.1%) and hearing aids (2.6%). Among assistive product users, most of them (53%) sourced their APs from private providers and paid out of pocket (58%) and the majority (93%) were quite satisfied/very satisfied with their APs. Cost was the most commonly reported barrier to AP use.

Conclusion and Implications: There was a high total need and unmet need for assistive products in the province of Sololá in Guatemala, and lower use of APs. These findings highlight an urgent need to strengthen Assistive Technology provision to improve access in this setting, particularly for older people, and to address cost-related barriers and increase public provision. The findings can be used to raise awareness of the AT needs in the population in Guatemala, including for older people and people with functional difficulties, and to advocate and plan at local and national levels to make assistive products more accessible.

How to Cite: Boggs, D., Kester, A., Cordón, A., Naber, J., Rota, G. and Polack, S., 2022. Measuring Access to Assistive Technology using the WHO rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) questionnaire in Guatemala: Results from a Population-based Survey. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 33(1), pp.108–130. DOI: http://doi.org/10.47985/dcidj.573
Published on 15 May 2022.

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