Kleinitz P1, De Wet Z2, Nindorera F3, Lippolis G4, Barth C5
1World Health Organisation, Rehabilitation Programme, Geneva, Switzerland, 2ICRC Moveability Foundation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 3Association pour la Promotion de l'Education et de la Formation à l'Etranger (APEFE), Bujumbura, Burundi, 4Humanity and Inclusion, Brussels, Belgium, 5International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland
Learning objective 1: To present the WHO Rehabilitation 2030 Call for Action and highlight the need for strengthening rehabilitation leadership in low and middle-income countries
Learning objective 2: To describe innovative practices from international organizations that are strengthening rehabilitation within health systems
Learning objective 3: To identify the strategic role physical therapists can play in rehabilitation leadership
Description: As populations age and the prevalence of noncommunicable diseases increases, and people live with the consequences of conflict and injury, health systems are challenged to expand access to quality rehabilitation services (1). Furthermore, as availability to health interventions expands towards universal health coverage, rehabilitation is often needed to maximize their impact and effectiveness (2). Most health systems in low and middle-income countries are currently ill-equipped to lead, develop and deliver rehabilitation services, and substantial rehabilitation needs are going unmet (3). The Rehabilitation 2030 initiative was launched by WHO in February 2017 and included a 'Call for Action' that identified ten areas for united action to reduce unmet needs for rehabilitation (4). Among these is the need to strengthen rehabilitation leadership and integrate rehabilitation across health systems. The Call for Action addresses chronic challenges experienced in many low and middle-income countries and is proving to be a catalyst for strengthening alignment and collaboration between governments, international organizations and practitioners at the regional and country-level.
Strong leadership and governance for rehabilitation is essential for driving progress in rehabilitation, however, in low and middle-income countries few governments have the technical and financial capacity to undertake this role, and research and evidence in this area remains limited. In response to this situation the WHO has developed a series of tools that support a standardized situation assessment of rehabilitation, and the development of a strategic plan and monitoring framework, including rehabilitation indicators that can be drawn from health information systems. These tools, and the guidance within the WHO Rehabilitation in Health Systems Guidelines (3), are being utilized by ministries of health with the support of international organizations.
This symposium will share a range of innovative practices from international organizations, including Humanity and Inclusion (HI), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the MoveAbility Foundation, and draw on good practice examples and its evidence from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The examples include national rehabilitation situation assessment and strategic planning, long-term rehabilitation workforce and sector development, targeted assessment and support for rehabilitation financing, and the development of leadership capacity in physical therapists and their professional associations.
This session will consider the characteristics of successful approaches that strengthen rehabilitation and its leadership, and look ahead to suggest practices and research that address chronic challenges experienced in low and middle-income countries.
Implications / Conclusions: This symposium will highlight the WHO Rehabilitation 2030 Call for Action and importance of leadership when strengthening rehabilitation in low and middle-income countries. It will provide an opportunity for participants to identify successful characteristics and outcomes of international organization initiatives. The symposium will also consider what future steps and research should be taken to strengthen rehabilitation in low and middle-income countries.
Key-words: 1. rehabilitation, 2. global health 3. health systems
Funding acknowledgements: None Applicable
Relevance to physical therapy globally: The need for rehabilitation, including physical therapy, is increasing globally, especially in low and middle-income countries where the majority of the population live. Physical therapy constitutes a large proportion of the rehabilitation delivered, and the development of the profession commonly occurs within the context of rehabilitation sector development. This workshop will focus on the importance of leadership and governance for strengthening rehabilitation in low and middle-income countries and highlight the role physical therapists can play.
Target audience: This workshop is appropriate to practitioners, educators, policy makers and researchers, and will be particularly interesting to people from low and middle-income countries.