COMING UP – Lead-up to UHC Day: Rehabilitation must be part of universal health coverage | December 8, 2020
In the lead-up to the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, rehabilitation professionals, users, community-based rehabilitation networks and NGOs join voices to recall that rehabilitation must be part of financial protection mechanisms and made available and accessible for everyone who needs it, everywhere. Download the joint statement by the Global Rehabilitation Alliance, endorsed by Humanity & […]
In the lead-up to the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, rehabilitation professionals, users, community-based rehabilitation networks and NGOs join voices to recall that rehabilitation must be part of financial protection mechanisms and made available and accessible for everyone who needs it, everywhere.
Today 2.4 billion people of all ages are in need of rehabilitation services, encompassing assistive technologies and a wide range of interventions offered by rehabilitation professionals. According to the recent paper published in the Lancet “Global estimates of the need for rehabilitation based on the Global Burden of Disease study 2019”, the number of persons who would benefit from rehabilitation had increased by 63% from 1990 to 2019.
Rehabilitation is the core health strategy that optimizes the individual’s functioning in everyday life. Although rehabilitation is crucial to respond to the health challenges of the 21st century, health systems worldwide are still focused on reducing mortality and morbidity; functioning often remains a neglected aspect of health care.
As a result, rehabilitation services are often low-quality, under-resourced, and undeveloped. In particular in low and middle income countries, their financial coverage is highly variable or absent, thus making rehabilitation unaffordable for the most marginalized populations.
Boosted commitments and investments in favour of rehabilitation are needed
Rehabilitation is recognized as part of Universal Health Coverage, together with promotion, prevention, treatment, and palliative care. However, in order to make this reality, governments worldwide need to boost their commitments and investments by:
- Including rehabilitation services and assistive technologies in financial risk protection mechanisms.
- Integrating rehabilitation at all levels of the health system, from community to primary health care, to hospitals and specialized care, and from neonatology to geriatrics.
- Dedicating domestic and international resources to strengthen rehabilitation services and rehabilitation workforce
These steps are crucial to ensure that all individuals, in all communities, are able to receive rehabilitation care, without suffering financial hardship.