COMING UP – Lead-up to the World Health Day: Rehabilitation to build a fairer, healthier world | March 29, 2021
This year’s World Health Day sheds light on the need to “build a fairer, healthier world”. This issue could not be more relevant, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the already existing health inequities. In the lead-up to the World Health Day, civil society organisations join voices to recall the importance of rehabilitation to build […]
This year’s World Health Day sheds light on the need to “build a fairer, healthier world”. This issue could not be more relevant, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the already existing health inequities.
In the lead-up to the World Health Day, civil society organisations join voices to recall the importance of rehabilitation to build a fairer, healthier world and call for improved access to rehabilitation services and assistive technologies, for all people in need.
A growing need for rehabilitation, still largely unmet
While 2.4 billion people worldwide need rehabilitation services, these are often unavailable or unaffordable, particularly for people living in poverty and for persons with disabilities. In some low and middle-income countries, barriers for persons with disabilities are so significant that only 3-5% of them are able to access the rehabilitation services they need.
Rehabilitation is the core health strategy that optimizes the individual’s functioning in everyday life. Despite the growing needs for rehabilitation, due to an ageing population and increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases and injuries, health systems are still geared towards reducing mortality and morbidity, leaving functioning sidelined. As a result, rehabilitation services are very often underdeveloped and under-resourced.
Strengthening rehabilitation to build a fairer and healthier world
Sustainable Development Goal 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” can be achieved only if health leaders adopt a comprehensive approach to health and well-being.
Improving the health status of a population not only means reducing the number of deaths and of people affected by diseases, but also ensuring that people achieve optimal functioning and participation.
It is a matter of global health, and a matter of equity. Therefore, we call decision makers to:
- Understand and address barriers to access quality rehabilitation services, through data collection and collaboration with both rehabilitation users and other relevant stakeholders.
- Include rehabilitation services and technologies in financial risk protection mechanisms, and therefore achieve universal health coverage.
- Re-orient health decision-making in order to respond to the increasing population’s needs in terms of daily functioning, participation, well-being and quality of life.
- Invest resources for the provision of quality rehabilitation at all levels of the health system and in community-based and home-based services.