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  • WHO Makes the Case for Rehabilitation as a Worldwide Health Priority

    Editor's note: this story was changed from its original version to correct an error in the credentials and membership status of Mike Landry.

     Citing what it calls "a substantial and ever-increasing unmet need," the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report that presses for accessible and affordable rehabilitation as a high-priority global health goal.

    The "call for action" issued by WHO is the result of a February 2017 meeting of 208 rehabilitation stakeholders from 46 countries—a combination of rehabilitation services users, health policy specialists, funders, researchers, educators, and clinical practice experts that included Sue Eitel, PT, and Mike Landry, BScPT, PhD, who also is a member of the editorial board of Physical Therapy. Also in attendance was Emma Stokes, president of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.

    "With the rising prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and injuries and the aging population, there is a substantial and ever-increasing unmet need for rehabilitation," the report states. "In many parts of the world, however, the capacity to provide rehabilitation is limited or nonexistent and fails to adequately address the needs of the population."

    The report asserts that fixing this problem speaks directly to achieving 1 of WHO's sustainable development goals to "ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages."

    The report concedes that change won't be easy and lays out 10 areas for action that are built on a set of shared acknowledgements. Among them are the ideas that "rehabilitation is an essential part of the continuum of care" and that "rehabilitation is an investment in human capital that contributes to health, economic, and social development."

    The action areas themselves call for better rehabilitation planning, including within emergency preparedness and response, better integration of rehabilitation into the health sector, the establishment of "comprehensive rehabilitation service delivery models to progressively achieve equitable access," and building research capacity and making evidence for rehabilitation more accessible.

    "The issue of rehabilitation is today 1 of the main strategic aims for [WHO]," Oleg Chestnov, assistant director-general for WHO, told meeting attendees. "The [WHO] sustainable development goals cannot be achieved unless we address it."

    APTA remains a strong advocate for effective rehabilitation policy and achieved a victory in 2016, when the National Institutes of Health adopted a new 5-year roadmap for rehabilitation research.

    Comments

    • Please send this information to all insurances. They are behind raising copays for PT visits. My patients are not able to pay $60.00 and $70.00 per visit. Shortly thete will be no need for DPTs in the states ..that will be cash business with 6...7 visits max

      Posted by Robert on 4/26/2017 10:14 PM

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