Access to assistive products (AP) is an under-researched public health issue. Using an adaptation of a draft World Health Organization tool—the ‘Assistive Technology Assessment—Needs (ATA-N)’ for measuring unmet needs and use of AP, we aimed to understand characteristics of AP users, self-reported needs and unmet needs for AP, and current access patterns in Bangladesh. The ATA-N was incorporated in a Rapid Assessment of Disability (RAD), a population-based survey to estimate prevalence and correlates of disability. In each of two unions of Kurigram and Narsingdi districts, 60 clusters of 50 people each aged two years and older were selected using a two-staged cluster random sampling process, of whom, 4250 (59% Female; 41% Male) were adults, including 333 using AP. We estimate 7.1% of the studied population used any AP. AP use is positively associated with age and self-reported functional difficulty. The proportion of people using AP is higher for mobility than for sensory and cognitive difficulties. Of all people with any functional difficulty, 71% self-reported an unmet need for AP. Most products were home or self-made, at low cost, but provided benefits. Needs and unmet needs for AP are high, especially for people with greater functional difficulties. Assessing unmet needs for AP revealed important barriers to scale that can inform policy and practice.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2901;