Nossal Institute adds voice to global call for action in rehabilitation.

Represented by Wesley Pryor, Senior Technical Adviser in Disability Inclusion for Health and Development, The Nossal Institute for Global Health recently participated in the historic Rehabilitation 2030: A call to action, held at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Broadly defined, rehabilitation is a set of person-centred, multidisciplinary responses to optimise function and participation. At one stage of our lives, almost all of us may need the care provided by rehabilitation professionals. The WHO estimates that at least 74% of conditions in the 2015 global burden of disease study may benefit from rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is therefore essential in health systems that are equipped to respond to long-term health needs and support health, wellbeing and participation throughout people’s lives. However, rehabilitation services are often neglected and under-resourced. A massive scale-up is urgently needed.

The ‘Rehabilitation 2030: A call to action’ meeting hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in Geneva on the 6th and 7th of February 2017 addressed these concerns.

The Nossal Institute is working with a number of partners in the Asia Pacific region on leadership and governance for health systems reform, planning and implementation of high quality services, and strengthening the evidence base on unmet needs for rehabilitation - and on delivering effective responses. This work builds on more than a decade of work in teaching, research, and consulting in disability inclusive development at the Nossal Institute.

Rehabilitation can include serial casting for club foot, mitigating the risk of a lifetime of mobility impairment. Afghanistan (2014)

Recognising unprecedented shifts in health demographics like ageing population and vast numbers of people with non-communicable and complex conditions who currently have very poor access to care, the WHO has called for a rapid scaling up of multidisciplinary rehabilitation services.

In launching the meeting, Dr. Etienne Krug, Head of Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention at the WHO remarked that the meeting was long overdue and that rehabilitation is key for the health systems of the 21st century.

Meeting participants including Ministers of Health, senior health planners, multilateral agencies, academics, consumers, disabled persons organisations and non-government organisations endorsed the Call for Action. The call outlines practical, immediate steps to strengthen and extend rehabilitation in health systems, while building on the legacy of initiatives like Community Based Rehabilitation.

Read more, and download a copy of the historic Call for Action here.