Repair strategies for assistive technology in low resource settings

Catherine Holloway, Julian Walker, Dr Ben Oldfrey, Mark Miodownik, Laurence Kenney, Robert Tamale Ssekitoleko, Steven McCormack, Bernadette Deere, Helen Ackers
July 25, 2023
Academic Research Publications


To investigate the practices of repair that exist for users of mobility assistive products in low resource settings, as well as the psychosocial impact that the repair, or non-repair, of these devices has on users’ lives.

Materials and Methods

This article collates data on repair practices and the responses from participants on the topic of repair from studies conducted by the authors across four different low resource settings in Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia. This data was then analyzed to identify the common themes found across geographies.


Three major models of repair practice emerged from the data: “Individual or Informal Repair in the Community”; “Local Initiatives”; and “Specialist AT Workshop Repair”. Additionally, the wider impact on the participants’ lives of “Problems & Concerns with Repair”; “Experiences of Breakages & Frequencies of Repair” and the “Impact of Broken Devices” are explored.


The results of this analysis demonstrate the paramount importance of community-based repair of devices, and how despite this importance, repair is often overlooked in the planning and design of assistive products and services. There is a need to further incorporate and support these informal contributions as part of the formal provision systems of assistive device.