Rehabilitation found centre ground at this years World Health Assembly (WHA) took place in Geneva from 22 to 28 May. The ReLAB-HS Consortium, of which Physiopedia is one of six partners, participated as part of the Humanity & Inclusion’s delegation to the WHA.
The theme of this year’s Health Assembly is: Health for peace, peace for health. Topics emphasised on the agenda this year were: recovery from the pandemic and preparedness; sustainable financing for WHO; the new plan for non-communicable diseases; and the health situation in Ukraine. Partners from the Global Rehabilitation Alliance, the International Society of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine, and SightSavers were also present at the WHA and joined forces to leverage rehabilitation and disability-inclusion in the discussions.
Non-State Actors in official relations with WHO (for example non-government organisations) have the possibility to contribute to the WHA debate by presenting public statements. This year two official statements were co-presented as ReLAB-HS: one in relation to the agenda items ‘WHO’s work in emergencies’ and one related to the agenda item ‘human resources for health’. The rehabilitation related statements called on member states to:
- Integrate rehabilitation at all levels of the health system, from primary health care, to hospitals and specialised care, across the continuum of NCD care.
- Include rehabilitation in home/community-based services, which should be locally-owned and adequately-skilled.
- Leverage rehabilitation onto the WHA agenda, with a view to providing the political framework for stronger commitments and wider coverage.
- Meet the rehabilitation needs of people affected by pandemics and other groups requiring continuous access to it, by providing rehabilitation services at all levels of health and via alternative modalities like telerehabilitation.
- Leverage rehabilitation onto the agenda of the WHA. Setting commitments to advance rehabilitation cannot be further delayed.
- Rehabilitation and provision of assistive technology must be incorporated in all health emergency responses, at all levels of care.
- Professionals must be equipped to meet early-rehabilitation needs in emergencies and those of people with pre-existing disabilities or chronic health conditions.
- Strengthening local rehabilitation capacity requires leadership and vision. A WHA Resolution on Rehabilitation, encompassing rehabilitation in emergencies, will strengthen Member States’ efforts to improve services.
Following the strength of rehabilitation on this years agenda, we are all looking forward to a future a World Health Assembly Resolution on Rehabilitation.
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.