World Stroke Organisation statement on the WHO rehabilitation report

02 February 2023

The 152nd session of the WHO Executive Board, held on 30 January-7 February 2023, discussed the WHO Director General report on Strengthening rehabilitation in health systems.

On this occasion, the World Stroke Organisation delivered a statement, supported by IDF and NCD Alliance.

WSO, supported by NCDA and IDF, welcomes WHO and Member State initiatives to strengthen rehabilitation services. The need is increasing with the rising prevalence of NCDs and disruption of 60% of essential rehabilitation services during COVID-19 – more than any other service. One hundred one million individuals globally live with stroke, experiencing physical and communication difficulties, and loss of work and independence. Neuro-rehabilitation units and long-term rehabilitation are essential for health, well-being and social participation. Barriers to rehabilitation in LMICs, where the NCD burden is increasing, include insufficient workforce, infrastructure, high costs and poor understanding of its role.

We call for:

  1. Inclusion of rehabilitation in UHC health benefit packages within the continuum of care enabled by guideline development, frameworks and education for patients and professionals.
  2. Meaningful involvement of people living with NCDs in developing policies and services to enable cost-effective, locally relevant and timely interventions.

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