Disability and rehabilitation


Physiotherapist Fatima Mohamed is applying a massage to Naba Mohamed (6 months) who suffers serious problems of mobility in her legs and feet

Rehabilitation is instrumental in enabling people with disabilities whose functions are limited to remain in or return to their home or community, live independently, and participate in education, the labour market and civic life. Access to rehabilitation can decrease the consequences of disease or injury, improve health and quality of life and reduce the use of health services. While global data on the need for rehabilitation, the type and quality of measures provided, and estimates of unmet need do not exist, national-level data reveal large gaps in the provision of and access to such services in many low-income and middle-income countries.

What WHO is doing

WHO, along with WHO Collaborating Centres and other partners, actively supports Member States in implementing objective 2 of the WHO global disability action plan 2014-2021: to strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habilitation, assistive technology, assistance and support services and community-based rehabilitation.

To this end, WHO:

  • develops guidelines, providing evidence-based recommendations on how to develop and expand rehabilitation as a health strategy;
  • provides technical assistance and support to countries that are introducing and expanding rehabilitation services;
  • develops tools and training packages to strengthen rehabilitation services;
  • develops approaches to guide Member States in how to integrate rehabilitation into universal health coverage.

Rehabilitation 2030

Other useful links