The Rehabilitation 2030 initiative is a global call to action that draws attention to the profound unmet need for rehabilitation services around the world. It highlights the importance of strengthening health systems to provide rehabilitation and improve access to properly trained rehabilitation providers. The initiative was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to accelerate action and support countries in achieving the goals of the Rehabilitation 2030 initiative. Unfortunately, many people do not have access to rehabilitation services, leading to an exacerbation of their condition, further complications and lifelong consequences.
To address this issue, WHO has developed recommendations for member states and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen and expand the availability of rehabilitation services. These recommendations include strengthening rehabilitation planning and implementation at the national and subnational levels, improving the integration of rehabilitation in the health sector, and strengthening intersectoral links. The aging of the population and the improvement of access to medical, emergency and trauma care are matched by a growing demand for rehabilitation services. However, in many parts of the world, the capacity to provide rehabilitation services is limited or non-existent and does not respond adequately to the needs of the population.
In order to address this issue, WHO convened a meeting in 2018 with representatives from different countries, entities and disciplines within rehabilitation. Their common goal was to launch the call to action Rehabilitation 2030 and to present WHO recommendations on rehabilitation in health systems. These recommendations include establishing and strengthening rehabilitation networks and partnerships, particularly between low-, middle- and high-income countries. The elected president of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM), Walter Frontera, said: “It's fantastic to be here, because it's a great opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues who represent different countries, different entities and disciplines within rehabilitation.” I believe that this call to action and the final statement will be a very important document for the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
These rehabilitation needs will only increase in the coming years as populations continue to age and the number of people living with chronic diseases continues to increase worldwide. Therefore, it is essential that we take action now in order to ensure that everyone has access to quality rehabilitation services.