The Wheelchair Project Case Study: Scaling Wheelchair Distribution Effectively in Southeast Asia Assitive Technology Provision In Southeast Asia

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Joseph David Tell


Many people affected by disability require assistive devices, particularly mobility aids, in order to live independently and fully integrate into their communities. Throughout the world, numerous methods have been implemented in facilitating the provision of these devices to people affected by disabilities. This case study intends use the Rajanagarindra Institute of Child Development Wheelchair Project, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to evaluate the viability and efficacy of mobility-provision programs which adapt wheelchairs and other assistive devices not originally intended for the end user. Programs which must “retro-adapt” equipment, like the Wheelchair Project, rely heavily on medical and mechanical expertise to identify the recipients’ needs and safely modify the device accordingly. By examining the distribution statistics from the Wheelchair Project over its 20 years of operation and the needs of the disability community reported by the National Statistics Office of Thailand alongside a cost-benefit analysis of the declared value provided versus operational cost, this case-study systematically details the scope and financial viability of this approach. While not without constraints, this model succeeds in effectively capitalizing on available resources (both in regard to physical equipment as well as professional expertise) to meet the needs of those affected by disabilities in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Although still limited in size and reach, the Wheelchair Project demonstrably shows its viability and the potential this approach presents given the right circumstances.


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Tell, J. D. (2021). The Wheelchair Project Case Study: Scaling Wheelchair Distribution Effectively in Southeast Asia: Assitive Technology Provision In Southeast Asia. nternational ournal of hild evelopment and ental ealth, 9(1), 55-63. etrieved from
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