Responding to the growing need for rehabilitation around the world, particularly in countries torn apart by conflict, is not without its challenges. However, there are also considerable opportunities. These include developing innovative, cost-effective service delivery models at the primary care level; exploring the potential of new information technology; and investing in local infrastructure. Through this approach, ReLAB-HS will expand access to quality rehabilitation services in the community and home setting – improving health, restoring people’s independence and enhancing quality of life.
Our holistic program combines a number of complementary initiatives at various levels, within different sectors. We will continuously evaluate, refine and adapt solutions, and scale up successful interventions.
Capacity building is the cornerstone of ReLAB-HS. Given the urgent need for rehabilitation professionals, we will develop health workers’ skills so that they can provide quality rehabilitation and assistive technology (AT) services across the lifespan. In addition, ReLAB-HS will foster political commitment to rehabilitation, building the capacity of decision-makers and strengthening governance. This will help ensure that rehabilitation is prioritized, sufficient resources are allocated, and services are integrated into the health system. We will also inspire local leadership to promote ownership and sustainability.
Generating evidence and sharing learning are at the heart of ReLAB-HS. We will increase access to rehabilitation knowledge and boost research capacity.
Rehabilitation services are often established after conflicts to help address the needs of survivors. In some countries, this leaves a legacy of quality services but there are limitations in how those benefits can be integrated into health systems as they develop. ReLAB-HS will explore how conflict legacies has influenced the emergence of rehabilitation and how that affects access to comprehensive services for all.
Our approach is person-centered and participatory. ReLAB-HS will engage users, healthcare providers and decision-makers in the program. To address marginalization and discrimination it is vital to consider the overlapping factors that fuel vulnerability, such as gender, caste/ethnicity, race, wealth, disability, age and education. That’s why gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) is a cross-cutting theme in our work. We will involve vulnerable groups, including women and girls, in program design, delivery and monitoring. Through this inclusive approach, Re-LAB-HS seeks to redress unequal power relations and promote equal rights, opportunities and respect for all.
The time is right to examine how to deliver emerging commitments and address the gap between current need and current availability. Our approach includes the right mix of actions to help learn the most effective solutions to address the gaps and explore the most effective solutions to better integrate rehabilitation into health systems. This builds on decades of effort among the global community that has created the conditions for our work.