Content » Vol 0, Issue 0

Special report

Strengthening health-related rehabilitation services at national levels

Christoph Gutenbrunner, Jerome Bickenbach, John Melvin, Jorge Lains, Boya Nugraha
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Coordination Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, DE-30625 Hannover, Germany. E-mail:

DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2217


Objective: One of the aims of the World Health Organization’s Global Disability Action Plan is to strengthen rehabilitation services. Some countries have requested support to develop (scale-up) rehabilitation services. This paper describes the measures required and how (advisory) missions can support this purpose, with the aim of developing National Disability, Health and Rehabilitation Plans.
Recommendations: It is important to clarify the involvement of governments in the mission, to define clear terms of reference, and to use a systematic pathway for situation assessment. Information must be collected regarding policies, health, disability, rehabilitation, social security systems, the need for rehabilitation, and the existing rehabilitation services and workforce. Site visits and stakeholder dialogues must be done. In order to develop a Rehabilitation Service Implementation Framework, existing rehabilitation services, workforce, and models for service implementation and development of rehabilitation professions are described. Governance, political will and a common understanding of disability and rehabilitation are crucial for implementation of the process. The recommendations of the World Report on Disability are used for reporting purposes.
Conclusion: This concept is feasible, and leads to concrete recommendations and proposals for projects and a high level of consensus stakeholders.

Lay Abstract

In 2014, World Health organization launched Global Disability Action plan 2014-2021: better health for people with disability. One of the goals is to strengthen rehabilitation-related services worldwide. This paper describes concept on how to support countries that need to strengthen rehabilitation-related services in the country. The concept includes people with disability and rehabilitation services in the country, the role of respective governments, professional organizations and other actors (e.g. non-governmental organizations) a in handling disability and rehabilitation services.


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