Rehabilitation 2030: A Call for Action Concept Note

BACKGROUND There is a substantial and ever-increasing unmet need for rehabilitation worldwide, which is particularly profound in low- and middle-income countries. Improvements in medical treatment and healthcare systems have resulted in higher survival rates from disease and injury, with many people continuing to live with some form of residual impairment.

This, in combination with rising prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and the ageing population, implies a growing demand for rehabilitation services. In many parts of the world, however, the capacity to provide rehabilitation is limited or non-existent and fails to adequately address the needs of the population.  With its objective of optimizing functioning, rehabilitation supports those with health conditions to remain as independent as possible, to participate in education, to be economically productive, and fulfil meaningful life roles. As such, the availability of accessible and affordable rehabilitation plays a fundamental role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)  “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

The barriers to scaling up rehabilitation indicate a need for greater awareness and advocacy, increased investment into rehabilitation workforce and infrastructure, and improved leadership and governance structures. The scarcity of evidence for rehabilitation, particularly from a system-level perspective, presents a challenge for the development of technical guidance and policy making. The magnitude and scope of unmet rehabilitation needs signals an urgent need for concerted and coordinated global action by all stakeholders. While the rehabilitation community is united behind a common vision to see rehabilitation available to all who need it, the actualization of this vision requires considerable investment, the availability of technical tools and support, and importantly, strong political will.