WHO, UN and Global Stroke Policies Update

Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 meeting


In 2017, the “Rehabilitation 2030: a call for action” initiative was launched. This initiative aims at: improving rehabilitation governance and investment; expanding high-quality rehabilitation workforce and services; and enhancing rehabilitation data collection. WSO was present in that meeting as well as in Geneva in July this year. The meeting was well attended and all participants did not fit in the main room and the upstairs balconies were used.

At the meeting there were representatives from Member States (for example Russia, Samoa Islands, Malaysia, Swaziland), international and professional organizations, non-governmental organizations, rehabilitation experts and service users. The aim was to define concrete actions for the following goals:  1) Increasing rehabilitation service coverage in the context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and 2) rehabilitation reeiving priority from international and national political leaders.

As WHO defines universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

This definition of UHC embodies three related objectives:

  • Equity in access to health services - everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them;
  • The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services; and
  • People should be protected against financial-risk, ensuring that the cost of using services does not put people at risk of financial harm.

WSO  is a non-State actor of WHO and was as such represented by its President Michael Brainin, Prof. Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen and Maria Fredin Grupper.

The objectives of the meeting were:

(1) To review actions undertaken to date by WHO, its partners and Member States for the Rehabilitation 2030 initiative

(2) To agree on concrete actions for rehabilitation in countries to advance the implementation of the WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019-2023, and

(3) To identify enablers and barriers for moving the global rehabilitation agenda forward.

As part of the WHO Rehab 2030 and the UCH the WHO has identified areas were rehabilitation is highly important. Stroke is such an area and there is an ongoing process to identify crucial component to launch a Package for Rehabilitation Interventions. On the second day, Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen gave a presentation on why this is so important for the stroke community. On the third day, there was a working group meeting on between the experts on stroke rehabilitation with the group that had worked on the utilities and equipment needed for rehabilitation intervention. The idea is not only to identify what areas are crucial stroke survivors in the world but also what is needed to deliver the intervention. This combined information will be necessary for governments to launch programs for stroke rehabilitation.

The organizer and host of the meeting was Prof. Alarcos Cieza, Coordinator of the Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation department at WHO, and her team. Before the meeting she published a provocative paper questioning whether Rehabilitation really is the Health Strategy of the 21st Century.(