The Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria met in the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday to develop an action plan for the integration of rehabilitation into the Universal Health Coverage from the perspective of practice, training, and regulation by the year 2030.
The stakeholders discussed the implementation of the Rehabilitation Competency Framework, Package of Interventions in Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation in Health System that was launched by the World Health Organisation in August 2023.
During the hours-long stakeholders meeting comprising several medical practitioners and health security experts, the Registrar and CEO, MRTB, Prof Rufai Yusuf Ahmad, revealed that the aim of the meeting, among others, was to bring significant changes to rehabilitation professionals’ practice, training, research and regulation through multidisciplinary planning.
He also called for the support of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare while urging the government to aid the board in achieving its agenda before the year 2030.
Ahmad said, “The World Health Organisation defined rehabilitation as a set of interventions designed to optimise functionality and reduce disability in individuals with health conditions in interaction with their environment, and, as such, it is an essential health strategy for achieving universal health coverage, increasing health and well-being, improving quality of life, delaying the need for long-term care and empowering persons to achieve their full potential and participate in society.
“Available data suggests that 2.41 billion people in the world could benefit from rehabilitation services. This means that at least one in every three persons in the world needs rehabilitation at some point during the course of their disease or injury. The need for rehabilitation increased by 63 per cent between 1990 and 2017 because of the aging population, the increasing prevalence of non-communicable health conditions, and the shifting epidemiological profile in most countries. According to the 2022 global report on health equity for persons with disabilities, approximately 1.3 billion people or 16 per cent of the world’s population have moderate to severe levels of disability associated with underlying health conditions and impairments.
“To address these problems, the resolution on ‘Strengthening Rehabilitation in Health Systems’ was adopted at the 76th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation on May 28, 2023.
“The ‘Rehabilitation Agenda 2030’ as a call for action, was launched to realise WHO’s resolution The initiatives are meant to draw attention to the increasing needs for rehabilitation in the world; to highlight the role of rehabilitation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations; to foster coordinated and concerted global action towards strengthening rehabilitation in health systems.”
He further noted that the resolution calls for several measures to be implemented to strengthen global access to rehabilitation services which will help about 2.4 billion people with injuries or illnesses to benefit from rehabilitation, study help, work, and care for their families.
He added that currently, more than 50% of such persons lack access to these essential services in many of the world’s poorest countries, hence causing preventable complications and often barring them from accessing decent work.
He added, “Implementation of the Rehabilitation 2030 agenda in Nigeria would translate to tangible benefits such as improved access to affordable assistive technology, accessible products, services, infrastructure and workforce.
“The impact on the populace and economy would include improved health outcomes following a range of interventions, as well as facilitated participation in education, employment and other social activities, and significantly reduced health care costs and burden of care on providers.
“There are several challenges confronting our government and indeed, other governments around the world, in implementing Rehabilitation 2030 Agenda and for which reasons we are gathered here.”