Consensus Meeting at the World Health Organisation (view flyer)
Mac MacLachlan, Professor of Global Health and Director of the Centre for Global Health, and member of the School of Psychology, recently chaired a historic meeting of over 60 international experts in Geneva, to establish the Assistive Products List (APL); a list of priority assistive products which each country in the world will now be encouraged to adopt. This initiative builds on WHO’s highly successful Essential Medicines List (EML), which is credited with facilitating more equitable access to crucial medicines, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Professor MacLachlan who is the Research Lead for the Global Collaboration on Assistive Technology (GATE) said “It was a great honour to work with so many committed and enthusiastic people, with such a wealth of experience, disciplinary backgrounds, cultural and geographic diversity. Our consensus on the list of 50 priority products, is a minimum, not a maximum; it is a beginning, not an end; and there are huge challenges and opportunity ahead for promoting the inclusion and participation for the estimated 2 billion people who will be living with some form of impairment, by the year 2050”.
The GATE secretariat is based in WHO Geneva, where current Masters in Global Health student, Mary Scholl, is currently undertaking an internship. The World Health Assembly – the world’s leading meeting of government Ministers of Health - in May, will also feature a side event on GATE and the APL. This event has been co-sponsored by the Irish government, through the cooperation of Irish Aid and the Department of Health.
Professor MacLachlan said “to date GATE has been generously supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but we expect that as the momentum builds following the establishment of this list, more stakeholders will want to get involved in this hugely empowering programme. The Centre for Global Health and Trinity College are privileged to be involved in it.”
For more on the GATE initiative see a short description recently published by Prof MacLachlan and his WHO colleagues in The Lancet