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African Journal of Disability (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2226-7220
Print version ISSN 2223-9170

Abstract

MHATRE, Anand et al. Developing product quality standards for wheelchairs used in less-resourced environments. Afr. j. disabil. (Online) [online]. 2017, vol.6, pp.1-15. ISSN 2226-7220.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.288.

BACKGROUND: Premature failures of wheelchairs in less-resourced environments (LREs) may be because of shortcomings in product regulation and quality standards. The standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) specify wheelchair tests for durability, safety and performance, but their applicability to products used in the rugged conditions of LREs is unclear. Because of this, wheelchair-related guidelines published by the World Health Organization recommended developing more rigorous durability tests for wheelchairs. OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to identify the additional tests needed for LREs. METHODS: First, a literature review of the development of ISO test standards, wheelchair standards testing studies and wheelchair evaluations in LREs was performed. Second, expert advice from members of the Standards Working Group of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) was compiled and reviewed. RESULTS: A total of 35 articles were included in the literature review. Participation from LREs was not observed in the ISO standards development. As per wheelchair testing study evidence, wheelchair models delivered in LREs did not meet the minimum standards requirement. Multiple part failures and repairs were observed with reviewed field evaluation studies. ISWP experts noted that several testing factors responsible for premature failures with wheelchair parts are not included in the standards and accordingly provided advice for additional test development. CONCLUSION: The study findings indicate the need to develop a wide range of tests, with specific tests for measuring corrosion resistance of the entire wheelchair, rolling resistance of castors and rear wheels, and durability of whole wheelchair and castor assemblies.

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