End of Week 2 | MOOC Reflections | Working as a Unified Rehab Profession is The Only Way Forward

Course 2 of the annual Physiopedia MOOC  has got me thinking about the systems that I currently work within, and has given me a lot to reflect on.

Course 2 of the MOOC this week focused on Rehabilitation within Health Systems and the complexity of rehabilitation governance. While I have always been aware of the influence of governance on health systems as a whole, I have not really considered the frameworks or policies that impact on rehabilitation, both in terms of development and implementation of services. For me, I think a key factor I have been aware of is the lack of prioritisation and funding in particular, which I see on a daily basis within my own work context. I work within Paediatric Primary Care and we have long waiting lists and inadequate staffing, which hugely impact on the type of service that we can provide for individuals.

Valentina Pomatto, Inclusion Advocacy Manager, Humanity and Inclusion, highlights this issue in her presentation in the course activity. She outlines that rehabilitation services are often underdeveloped or under-resourced and are often unavailable or unaffordable for the vast majority of the world population. This is particularly true for people living in poverty, in rural areas, and in low-and middle-income countries.

For me Valentina’s presentation highlights all the more the importance of initiatives like Rehab 2030 to strengthen health systems globally, but also the importance of the role we can play as rehabilitation professionals. Making a conscious decision to work more collaboratively as a unified professional field to advocate for adequate rehabilitation access with an overriding commitment to leave no-one behind is the only way we will truly address inequalities.

I loved this short video on why rehabilitation matters, I think it provides a great thought provoking visual of what access to rehabilitation matters and the huge impact that rehabilitation can have. More importantly the video clearly highlights to me how the lack of access to rehabilitation, particularly early access, can negatively impact on both the individual and their loved ones.

This further highlights to me the importance of universal health coverage to ensure that all people have access to the health services they need that are of sufficient quality to be effective while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship. Although it certainly seems that currently it is still a long way away.

For me my take home from this course has been about what I can do to both advocate for rehabilitation within my work context but more importantly to ensure that I follow the principles of rehabilitation. By this I mean that I promote adaptation, emphasise ability and am always holistic in my approach to treat the whole person. While our ability to control and influence health systems as a whole can seem challenging, I can at least influence rehabilitation at an individual level by understanding the health systems I work within better and ensure that I work collaboratively with other rehabilitation professionals.

I’m excited to start Course 3 and look in more detail at Rehabilitation Infrastructures and the Rehabilitation Team. I am hoping it will help me develop a better understanding of the range of rehabilitation teams and enable me to work on developing better relationships allowing a more collaborative approach to rehabilitation within the services I work in.

This post was written by Naomi O’Reilly the MOOC manager at Phyisopedia.

This work is supported by the USAID funded Learning Acting Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS) project and is not possible without the generous and committed contribution of the Leahy War Victims fund.

ReLAB-HS is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented under cooperative agreement number 7200AA20CA00033. The consortium is managed by prime recipient, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.