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    Age related increase in impairment across the life course: the use of Zomba curves to estimate assistive technology needs in Malawi

    Ebuenyi, Ikenna D. and Jamali, Monica Z. and Smith, Emma M. and Kafumba, Juba and Chizala, Pachalo and Munthali, Alister and MacLachlan, Malcolm (2022) Age related increase in impairment across the life course: the use of Zomba curves to estimate assistive technology needs in Malawi. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 19 (1). pp. 16-23. ISSN 1748-3107

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    Purpose Global population growth and increasing longevity means that the need for Assistive Technology (AT) will continue to increase. The level of unmet need for AT is greatest in low-income settings. The aim of this study is to identify age-related increase in impairment and to estimate the AT needs. Materials and Methods We analysed secondary data from the 2018 Malawi Population and Housing Census (MPHC) based on the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) short-set of questions. Results Out of the 1,556,670 persons with one or more functional limitations or disabilities identified in the census, self-reported difficulties in all domains were markedly higher from age 40 and above. The proportion reporting one functional limitation is higher compared to two or more limitations, but at age 78–80 the proportion reporting two or more functional limitations increased above those reporting one functional limitation. Although 60.9% (60.7–61.0) and 63.5% (63.3–63.6) of those who reported difficulty in seeing and hearing were using glasses and hearing aids respectively, the estimated total need for glasses and hearing aids in this group was 98.9% (98.0–99.0) and 98.4% (98.3–98.5) respectively. The unmet need for glasses and hearing aids were therefore 38.1% and 34.9% respectively. Conclusion The differential slope of impairment curves against age is a guide to the increasing demand for AT across the life course and across different domains of functioning. Country specific analysis of impairment across age and domains is essential to understand and plan for the growing need for AT globally.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Assistive technology; assistive products estimation; life course approach; Zomba curves;
    Academic Unit: Assisting Living & Learning,ALL institute
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 18482
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Malcolm MacLachlan
    Date Deposited: 07 May 2024 12:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
    Publisher: Taylor & Francis
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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