Disability and rehabilitation in emergencies


Emergencies, particularly sudden-onset disasters and situations of protracted conflict, can result in a surge of people with critical injuries. In such contexts, local health and rehabilitation services may not be able to cope with their needs, and they may suffer from secondary complications of their injuries, due to a lack of access to medical management, medications, and assistive devices. These injuries and complications may result in their experiencing long-term disability. People living with disability prior to the emergency are also disproportionately affected in such situations and are known to have particularly high rates of mortality in emergencies.

What WHO is doing

In partnership with other UN agencies, WHO Collaborating Centres and other partners, WHO:

  • develops standards for rehabilitation provision in emergencies;
  • supports Member States to strengthen their emergency medical teams to provide rehabilitation care;
  • develops guidance on disability inclusion in emergency contexts.

Related links

Accessibility and allocation of space for rehabilitation in field hospitals

Guidance note on disability and emergency risk management for health

Emergency medical teams: minimum technical standards and recommendations for rehabilitation

Rehabilitation in EMTs Poster

Other useful links