Manual Wheelchairs cover image

Guidelines on the provision of Manual Wheelchairs in less resourced settings

The introductory chapter describes the need for and benefits of wheelchairs, types of wheelchairs, and systems for their provision. It also defines the requirements of adequate wheelchairs and introduces the reader to the stakeholders and their roles.

A wheelchair must meet the user’s individual needs and environmental conditions, provide postural support, and be safe and durable. The wheelchair must be available and affordable and be maintainable and sustainable in the country of use. This is not always easy, because wheelchair users are a diverse group with different requirements and environmental and socioeconomic conditions.

The chapter argues that a wheelchair is more than an assistive device for many people with disabilities; it is the means by which they can exercise their human rights and achieve inclusion and equal participation. A wheelchair provides mobility, ensures better health and quality of life, and assists people with disabilities to live full and active lives in their communities.