Users’ Satisfaction with Assistive Devices in Afghanistan
Bikram Keshari Mohapatra
Swedish Committ ee for Afghanistan, AF
About Bikram Keshari
Mr Bikram K. Mohapatra works with Swedish Committee for Afghanistan as Senior Disability Programme Specialist. He has done his Masters in Disability and Global Development from University of Leeds, UK and PG Diploma in Public Health Service Management from IIPH, Bhubaneswar, India. Bikram has more than 22 years of experience in the field of physical rehabilitation CBR, inclusive development, inclusive disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action.
Purpose: The objective of this study was to assess users’ satisfaction and effectiveness of assistive devices in four regions of Afghanistan, namely Mazar-e-Sharif, Ghazni, Jalalabad and Taloqan.
Method: A random sample of 785 users, who were provided with 874 mobility and assistive devices in four regional prosthetic and orthotic workshops of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), participated in the study.
Results: The study revealed that the majority of the participants rated the assistive devices as very useful. While 45% of respondents even described them as excellent, 49% expressed a good level of satisfaction with the services they received at treatment centres. Similarly, the majority of respondents (67%) mentioned a maximum level of improvement, while 15% claimed to have witnessed some improvement in their physical condition. Fitting, comfort, and ease of use, along with durability, weight and appearance were rated as the most important factors of assistive devices. On the other hand, slow service and limited access to maintenance and repair facilities were identified as reasons for dissatisfaction.
Conclusion: The study provided continuous and valuable information to rehabilitation professionals regarding device effectiveness and satisfaction. The findings also recommended a stronger focus on comfort and usefulness of mobility and assistive devices. Lastly, the study suggested that lack of local device-repair service needs to be addressed by rehabilitation professionals.