In many settings, medical and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities are less than optimal or simply do not exist. This is due in part to a lack of training for health professionals in the provision of appropriate medical care and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. At present, the inclusion of disability and rehabilitation curricula is limited in most formal training institutions. Articles 20, 25 and 26 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) require Member States to develop initial and continuing training for professionals and staff to improve access to disability-inclusive health care, assistive devices and technologies and rehabilitation services. The objectives of the WHO global disability action plan 2014-2021 also call for Member States to strengthen and improve access to rehabilitation services, assistive technology and community-based rehabilitation (CBR). Building these capacities is of growing importance in light of the rising trends of noncommunicable diseases, ageing populations and the increasing number of people living with the consequences of injuries.
What WHO is doing
WHO, along with WHO Collaborating Centres and partners, is working to build the capacity of Member States in the following ways:
- Developing training materials for health professionals and non-specialized staff involved in disability and rehabilitation services and programmes;
- Contribute to the preparation of a disability and rehabilitation curriculum for schools of public health, medical schools, and other health-related institutions.