Dr. Abdulgafoor Bachani presenting at the 2023 GRLI Pakistan

Launched in late 2020, Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS) is a comprehensive five-year program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), that is responding to the escalating need for physical rehabilitation and assistive technology (AT) services in low- and middle-income countries. We are working across all levels of the health system, building technical, policy and research capacity; increasing political commitment; and inspiring leadership.

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 reduced functioning, disabilities, and those who have sustained injuries in conflict-affected settings.

There are significant barriers to individuals’ access to rehabilitation and AT services. An insufficient rehabilitation workforce combined with the lack of appropriate equipment and limited logistical and financial resources prevent the delivery of services needed to support the timely identification of conditions that would benefit from rehabilitation. Furthermore, a lack of referral systems, poor case management, and both the limited supply of assistive products and their high cost prevent many from accessing services and products that would support improved functioning.

Working with a focus on service delivery, workforce, and leadership and governance, we are partnering with stakeholders to demonstrate models for integration of quality rehabilitation and AT services into health systems that are sustainable and create local demand for rehabilitation and AT. We are documenting this in a way that the process can be replicated in other contexts by local stakeholders.

Publications will include toolkits for strengthening local health systems (R-FIT), developing the rehabilitation workforce (IRETT), and creating strong leadership and governance (GRLI). The toolkits will contain resources that guide anyone to repeat the process in a way that is adapted to their context.

We are also developing a group of rehabilitation and AT champions who can assist in the implementation of these toolkits for other projects and at scale.

Service delivery

With a focus on primary care, ReLAB-HS is committed to supporting the co-development of quality and integrated service delivery models for rehabilitation that are sustainable and scalable.


The workforce is key to any functioning health system. To support workforce capacity ReLAB-HS is developing globally relevant tools and digital platforms to support the implementation of workforce development activities. 

Leadership and governance

ReLAB-HS is committed to advancing stakeholder leadership, capacity development, and use of data and evidence for policy engagement for strengthening rehabilitation in health systems.