Mr Deon de Villiers, NID CEO was invited as a participant to the GREAT Summit and will be providing information about Deaf Accessible Assistive Technology at NID Training, Care and Support Services.  

As an action emanating from the Global priority research agenda to further the aims of GATE, the Global Research, Innovation, and Education in Assistive Technology (GREAT) Summit, as a GATE initiative, will be held on the 3rd – 4th August 2017 at WHO headquarters in Geneva. The Summit will bring together 150 top global researchers, innovators and educators who are carrying out research or offering training programmes related to assistive technology policy, products, personnel, provision and use.


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one billion people are in need of one or more assistive products. The majority of these are older people and people with disabilities. With populations ageing and a rise in noncommunicable diseases, the number of people needing assistive products is projected to increase to beyond two billion by 2050. However, only one in ten people in need currently have access to assistive technology. Without access, people are often excluded and may be locked into poverty and isolation; increasing the impact of disease and disability on the person, their family and on society as a whole.

The United Nations (UN) has recognized and acknowledged poor access to assistive technology as a critical problem to address. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entitles all people to available and affordable assistive technology, and stipulates that states should take effective measures to enable access to such technology. Increasing access to high-quality and affordable medical products, which includes assistive products, is also one of the six leadership priorities of WHO. To address the substantial gap between the need for and provision of assistive technology, WHO established the Global Cooperation on Assistive Health Technology (GATE) in 2014. GATE is an assistive technology stakeholder platform, which aims to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive products as an integral part of responding to the call for access to essential, high-quality, safe, effective and affordable medical products. The GATE initiative has prioritized research and innovation as a key focus area. In order to promote research and innovation, WHO established a core group to identify strategic research priorities for the GATE initiative and called for a GATE Research Group meeting in Budapest in September 2015. The core group members are experts from the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE), the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA), Zuyd University of Applied Science, and Trinity College Dublin. The GREAT Summit is a follow-up event to further advance the global research priority agenda.