Reaching universal coverage of assistive technologies remains a challenge in many low- and middle-income countries. Tajikistan has recently adopted several policies and national strategies to strengthen the rights of people with disabilities and improve the provision of assistive products. However, Tajikistan faces a number of challenges, including ensuring sustainable funding for the provision of wheelchairs in the medium and long term.
This study presents the results of a recent analysis of the economic aspects of the provision of wheelchairs in Tajikistan to inform policy making in other low- and middle-income countries. The study draws on several sources of information, including local cost data, consultations with national and international experts and stakeholders, and reviews of the existing evidence.
Countries are advised to adopt an incremental approach to wheelchair provision. In the short term, countries may wish to import wheelchairs to move towards universal coverage. In the medium-to-long term, countries may wish to invest in national capacities for local production.
Countries will need to continue implementing strategies to ensure universal access to wheelchairs without the risk of financial hardship for users, regardless of the approach to provision that has been chosen.Implication for RehabilitationReaching universal coverage of assistive technologies remains a challenge in many low- and middle-income countries.Countries are advised to adopt an incremental approach to wheelchair provision.The model of wheelchair importation may be a realistic model over the short- to medium-term for many LMICs countries to ensure effective and equitable provision of wheelchairs.In this article, we identify that sufficient funding needs to be allocated to the provision of wheelchairs regardless of the model of provision.