World Health Day: Building a Fairer, Healthier World with Digital Accessibility
Today marks the annual celebration of World Health Day.
This year we’re reflecting on the 2021 theme of building a fairer and healthier world for everyone, as part of the World Health Organisations year-long campaign to eliminate health inequities.
2020 was a year we will never forget. COVID-19 highlighted the inequalities between us and revealed that some people can live healthier lives with better access to health services than others, entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, concerning age, gender, disability, and race.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undercut recent health gains and amplified health inequalities. This is immoral and avoidable, provided we make efforts to ensure people can access quality health services when and where they need them.
Assistive technology enables people to access vital health resources, information, and advice regardless of their race, religion, gender, disability, or social condition, enabling people to live independent and healthy lives.
Healthcare is a Right Not a Privilege
One billion people around the world live with some form of disability, and often encounter obstacles online when searching for healthcare services and COVID-19 guidance. The World Health Organisation estimates that only 10% of people have access to the assistive technology they need.
“The Enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
World Health Organization
Breaking Down Health Inequities with Recite Me Digital Accessibility Tools
Recite Me works with health organisations around the world to provide accessible technology on websites. Our accessibility toolbar enables everyone worldwide to access vital health resources and information online. Our digitally inclusive toolbar offers features such as translation, screen reader, and styling options. This includes alterations to the size, font, and colour. These features support a diverse range of individuals who are most vulnerable to access barriers:
- Decreased vision
- Learning difficulties
- Physical disabilities
- Attention disorders
- Language/linguistic problems
Individuals with these issues often face barriers when using websites to access healthcare information, as they may not be able to read onscreen information, use a mouse or focus on content without distractions. Welcoming people with varied disabilities and access needs are important to eliminating health inequities worldwide.
Healthcare Diversity & Inclusion
This year, health organisations and charities have joined the Recite Me mission of ‘Accessibility for All’ by providing online assistive technology to website visitors. This is important to us especially during a global pandemic where many people may feel isolated and struggle to gain access to information and services.
We are proud to work with a range of healthcare organisations and charities to support their journey to becoming digitally inclusive, building a fairer and healthier world.
“We know the information on our website needs to be available in different formats and languages to reach our diverse audiences, so we worked hard to find a solution that will make information we publish online more accessible.”
Rebecca Fogarty, Engagement and Collaboration Manager at NHS Public Health Wales
“We have found Recite Me to be an important feature added to our websites. It has made it easier for people with different accessibility and translation needs to tell us about their health and care experiences online using our Feedback Centre, which means that we can continue to share the issues that matter to the diverse population of Cheshire.”
George Gibson, Communications and Research Officer, Healthwatch Cheshire CIC
Over the past 12 months Recite Me has seen over 54,000 people use assistive technology to view 194,974 pages barrier-free, across NHS and health client websites. When visiting our client websites visitors are viewing on average 3.58 pages per session. This is higher than the internet average of 2.8 pages, showing a better user experience when using the support available to aid their journey online.
As part of the options and tools available with the Recite Me toolbar translation plays a vital role to support people who speak English as a second language. Over 72,000 translate were made in the past 12 months on NHS websites with the most popular languages being Afrikaans, Bengali, Bulgarian, Italian and Tagalog.
“We want to provide an inclusive online experience, where everyone can customise content to suit their needs. Organisations like NHS Wales who have a diverse range of website users can now offer healthcare information more effectively to all users, this is particularly crucial in current circumstances for COVID-19 advice and services.”
Ross Linnett, Recite Me Founder and CEO
A Digitally Accessible Healthcare Service
Recite Me is a cloud-based assistive toolbar solution that bridges the gap between accessibility and usability, creating a more inclusive online experience. This web accessibility and language support help over 2 million website visitors every year to customise a site in a way that works best for them.
There is no better time than on World Health Day for global health organisations to provide online accessibility tools, to ensure a fairer and healthier world with barrier-free healthcare information and services.
We also want to take today to thank the amazing health workers worldwide, for their incredible work over this past year.
If you would like to join the thousands of organisations that now provide accessibility tools on their sites to support a diverse range of individuals, please contact our team or book a demo. We would love to see your support on our social pages for World Health Day, join us in supporting the movement.