Launched in late 2020, ReLAB-HS is a comprehensive five-year program that will respond to the escalating need for physical rehabilitation services in low- and middle-income countries.
We will work across all levels of the health system, building technical, policy and research capacity; increasing political commitment; and inspiring leadership. ReLAB-HS will use new technology and support simple, low-cost service delivery models that expand access to rehabilitation in the home and community – where it is needed most.
A commitment to generating evidence and sharing learning is at the heart of ReLAB-HS. Our approach is participatory, involving end users, including people with disabilities and those who have sustained injuries in conflict-affected settings.
Initially, we will work in four countries: Burma, Pakistan, Uganda and Ukraine. Led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU) and co-led by the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne (Nossal), the ReLAB-HS consortium is made up of six international partners with expertise in health systems, implementation science, and delivery innovations. Along with JH-IIRU and Nossal, consortium partners are Humanity & Inclusion, MiracleFeet, Momentum Wheels for Humanity, and Physiopedia.
This is a new USAID award of $39.5m over five years, financed through the Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF).
ReLAB-HS is a uniquely talented international consortium made up of six partner organizations. Together, they have considerable expertise in health systems, innovation in rehabilitation service delivery and implementation science, gained from working in over 70 countries.
Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit (JH-IIRU). JH-IIRU, within the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, leads the ReLAB-HS consortium. The Research Unit identifies effective solutions to the growing burden of injuries in low- and middle-income populations, influences public policy and practice, and advances the field of injury prevention throughout the world. Since its creation in 2008, JH-IIRU has led cutting-edge research in global injury prevention and control. JH-IIRU is active in over 30 countries around the globe, implementing a coordinated strategy involving research, education and practice. In recognition of its growing role as a leader in injury prevention, the Unit was designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Injuries, Violence and Accident Prevention.
An independent charity, Humanity & Inclusion works in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Humanity & Inclusion works alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights. Their work comprises six areas: emergencies, explosive weapons, rehabilitation, health and prevention, inclusion, and disability rights. Since its creation in 1982, their work has benefitted several million people in more than 60 countries.
MiracleFeet aims to eliminate a leading cause of physical disability worldwide: clubfoot. MiracleFeet expands access to quality treatment for children born with clubfoot through partnerships with local healthcare providers in 29 low- and middle-income countries. The non-profit organization brings the low-cost, non-surgical standard of care – provided in advanced health systems – to low-income countries. MiracleFeet trains new providers in basic and advanced skills and develops regional teams of qualified trainers who can build workforce capacity in their own countries: an approach that reduces costs and increases sustainable access to treatment.
For over 20 years, Momentum Wheels for Humanity has increased access to mobility and improved the quality of life for children, teenagers and adults with physical disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. In total, Momentum Wheels for Humanity has provided more than 100,000 wheelchairs. Its mission is to promote greater inclusion for people with disabilities globally, through mobility, therapy, advocacy and empowerment. The not-for-profit organization aims to build sustainable, community-based systems that provide effective, long-term support for people with mobility impairments. Momentum Wheels for Humanity builds rehabilitation services within health systems by providing training, capacity building and technical assistance; developing policy and standards; and supplying and distributing wheelchairs and other life-changing assistive technology.
The Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, is the consortium co-lead. A hub of global health expertise for more than 20 years, the Institute works to improve the public health and future of vulnerable communities through global health research, education and inclusive development. The Institute establishes the evidence base for strengthening health systems and extending universal health coverage to promote health and wellbeing across the region’s diverse communities. The Nossal Institute supports regional and global partners by supporting future leaders, health workers, building evidence and translating evidence and innovative methods into sustainable changes.
Physiopedia’s mission is to improve global health through universal access to rehabilitation knowledge. The registered charity educates rehabilitation professionals all over the world, builds community, and advocates for rehabilitation. Physiopedia provides a free evidence-based knowledge resource that is the top rehabilitation website in the world and is used by over 4 million people every month. Physiopedia also delivers online education and professional development opportunities to support the knowledge development of rehabilitation professionals globally, partnering with over 50 rehabilitation organisations and academic institutions in their workforce development activities.