ISPRM at the Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 Meeting

July 8-9th

The Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 Meeting took place at the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva July 8-9 2019 (link

This meeting was a follow up to the meeting held in February 2017 where 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.

The meeting gathered Member States, international and professional organizations, nongovernment organizations, rehabilitation experts and service users to define concrete actions for the following goals:  1) Increasing rehabilitation service coverage in the context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and 2) rehabilitation receiving priority from international and national political leaders.

ISPRM is a non-State actor of WHO and was as such represented by its President Walter Frontera, Secretary Peter Lim, ISPRM-WHO Liaison committee chair Carlotte Kiekens, Education committee chair Rochelle Dy, International Exchange committee chair Moon Suk Bang, ICSO-R working group chair Christoph Gutenbrunner, Capacity building working group chair Wouter De Groote, and ICF Implementation working group chair Masahiko Mukaino. Furthermore two of our past presidents were present: Gerold Stucki and Linamara Battistella, as well as several other ISPRM members from different continents.

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.

The meeting was organized by Prof. Alarcos Cieza, Coordinator of the Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation department at WHO, and her team. In preparation for the meeting she published a provocative paper questioning whether Rehabilitation really is the Health Strategy of the 21st Century? (link:

The first day interactive thematic sessions were based on the importance of rehabilitation, functioning as a public health goal, and examples of rehabilitation as the health strategy for functioning in different countries, for example by ISPRM member prof. Galina Ivanova on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Health and settings. An interesting presentation was given by Dr. Theo Voss of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on “Functioning information in Global Burden of Disease: making the case for rehabilitation”. He stated that instead of the 1 billion persons estimated in the World Report on Disability the results of the 2017 study showed that 2,366 billion persons worldwide may have potential rehabilitation needs. In more than half of the cases this is due to musculoskeletal health conditions, followed by sensory and neurological disorders. This lecture was followed by a presentation of Dr. Zee-A Han of WHO who described some models of Rehabilitation in all levels of care, such as for stroke (link: The last session comprised presentations on UHC and health system strengthening: opportunities for rehabilitation.

The first day was concluded with a reception where a welcome word was given by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, illustrative of the importance this initiative has within WHO.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General attends the Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 Meeting Cocktail, WHO Headquarters, Geneva. 8 July 2019. WHO Photo by Violaine Martin

The second day started with the official launch of the “WHO Rehabilitation in Health Systems – Guide for Action” by Pauline Kleinitz. This tool is useful for the missions that will be performed with ISPRM involvement to make situation analyses in three countries, as defined in the ISPRM-WHO collaboration agreement. (link:

Four parallel sessions took place presenting different tools developed by WHO within the context of Rehabilitation 2030:

  • Rehabilitation in Health Systems : Guide for Action;
  • Package of Rehabilitation Interventions (PRI);
  • Rehabilitation Competency Framework (RCF);
  • Rehabilitation in Emergencies.

After lunch a “Fish bowl session” was held with speakers from different organisations such as Humanity & Inclusion, the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, the Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health, the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil and the Archives of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. The panel was asked what these organisations could and would do for making rehabilitation a political priority in health.

At the end of the second day our President Walter Frontera took the opportunity of the meeting in Geneva to sign a renewed Memorandum of Understanding with Stefano Negrini, Cochrane Rehabilitation Director as well as with Friedbert Kohler, ISPO President. READ MORE


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What’s Rehabilitation About ?


PRI – RCF workshop 10 July

Several ISPRM members were invited to the technical working group session on 10 July, as they are participating in the development of two WHO resources: the Package of Rehabilitation Interventions (Carlotte Kiekens, James Middleton, Aydan Oral, Ayse Kucukdeveci, Peter Lim, Katharina Stibrant-Sunnerhagen, Wouter De Groote,…)  and the Rehabilitation Competency Framework (Rochelle Dy and Maria-Gabriella Ceravolo).

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ISPRM Members at the Second Global Rehabilitation 2030 Meeting, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, 10 July 2019

After the presentation of both projects to all participants, they were assigned to 6 small working groups, representing different health professions, working in different regions and settings. They were asked to define the necessary assistive devices, equipment, consumables, identify the necessary knowledge and skills and grade their level according to a standardized framework, to provide the selected assessments and interventions. These interventions were prepared by an expert group, based on the selection from high quality guidelines and Cochrane Reviews. This work was done for two of the planned 20 health conditions: amputation and stroke.

The systematic reviews of the guidelines and extraction of the interventions were performed by technical working groups, in close collaboration with Cochrane Rehabilitation.

The meeting was concluded with a very constructive feedback session providing useful input for the next steps in the projects.

Research meeting 10-11 July: “Health Policy and Systems Research Agenda for Rehabilitation”

This meeting was organized by the WHO rehabilitation programme together with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. The objectives of the meeting were:

  1. To agree on a health policy and systems research framework for rehabilitation;
  2. To identify a first set of research questions;
  3. To identify enablers and barriers to building health systems and policy research capacity in rehabilitation.

To this meeting were invited member states, major professional organizations, research and academic institutions, patient organizations and private sectors. Walter Frontera attended on behalf of ISPRM, accompanied by Gerold Stucki and Stefano Negrini.

The first day plenary lectures and panels were held and the second day the attendants worked in small groups to make proposals on different health systems themes such as key enablers, equity, health and functioning gains and societal gains. They came up with some interesting proposals to guide this this research agenda in the next future.

We can state that the meeting was another important step in our effort to advance the Rehabilitation2030 agenda across stakeholders worldwide. ISPRM was well represented and we want to thank all our members for their efforts attending and actively participating in the projects and working groups with WHO.

As Alarcos Cieza concluded we are ‘inventing the future’ but now we should all, with different professional and regional perspectives, work together to make rehabilitation a political priority.


Carlotte Kiekens

ISPRM WHO Liaison committee chair