Wheelchair service provision education and training in low and lower middle income countries: a scoping review.

Peer-reviewed article
(2019 Jan) Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol, 14 33-45


McSweeney E, Gowran RJ



Improving access to education and training for those providing wheelchair and seating assistive technology to meet personal posture and mobility requirements, as a basic human right, is a priority. This review considers education and training available to personnel within low and lower middle income countries (LLMIC), to ascertain where gaps in knowledge exist and identify human resource education priorities.


A scoping review, mapping out existing scientific and grey literature within the field between 1993 and 2017 was conducted. The search strategy included use of online databases, manual analogue searches and key stakeholder informant advice. A content analysis process was applied to organize the literature retrieved and extract key themes.


Education and training in LLMIC appears ad hoc and limited, however, there is growing recognition as to its importance, notably by the World Health Organization and nongovernmental organizations, delivering education initiatives to a number of countries, along with the development of a credentialing test. Inconsistency exists regarding personnel responsible for wheelchair provision, with no specific professional clearly recognized to oversee the system within many LLMIC.


Education and training is required for all stakeholders involved in wheelchair provision. Advocating for programme development to enhance personnel skills, build capacity and ensure best practice is a priority. Pilot sites, delivering and credentialing appropriate wheelchair provision education and training within context should be considered. Measuring outcomes and transferable skills should be part of education programme delivery structures. Considering a new discipline responsible for oversight of wheelchair provision should be investigated. Implications for rehabilitation Education and training is an essential step in the wheelchair provision process in the bid to obtain an appropriate wheelchair via appropriate provision services. However, it is more than education and training; its a human rights issue. Mandatory education and training needs to be a requirement for all stakeholders involved in wheelchair provision. Key wheelchair personnel need to establish their central role in this arena. The study raises awareness as to the importance of working with governments to commit to building sustainable wheelchair provision infrastructures.