Professor Taslim Uddin , represented the ISPRM at the Seventy-second Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia, New Delhi, 2–6 September 2019.

During this event the ISPRM presented the statement:

Agenda Item 8.3: Strengthening IHR and health emergency capacities through implementation of national action plans: Disaster Health related Rehabilitation

South East Asia Region hosts about a quarter of the world’s total population where more than 10% of the populations live with some kind disability. We know the region is a disaster prone area and disability situations further intensify during a disaster in the low resource remote disaster site. Lessons were learnt from Tsunami of Thailand, earthquakes in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Cyclone SIDR/ Bangladesh Landslides 2017, commercial building collapse and building fire including political and religious conflicts in the recent past. As a test case; there were more than 200 spinal cord injury patients at 2015 Nepal Earth quake, thousands of Musculoskeletal injuries, Traumatic brain injuries and number of amputees. These people need special type of immediate care with a longer version of medical rehabilitation. Certainly, life is first and a quality of functional life is immediate as concerned to health related emergency disaster preparedness and early recovery response. Currently with increasing frequency of disasters either natural or manmade bringing sudden onslaught of huge number of casualties; there has been greater focus on the importance of health related rehabilitation services in disaster management.

Emergency Medical Team (EMT) initiative of WHO recognizes rehabilitation as an integral part of medical response which include the development of minimum standards for rehabilitation in emergencies. However, there is a lack of, or inadequate rehabilitation-inclusive disaster preparedness/response plans in many countries especially in the South Asian region. Also, there is lack of an effective responsible body; weak disaster-related competencies and under-prioritization by national governments were found in the studies. There is an unmet need to strengthen national capacity, foster an environment of self-empowerment of EMTs with clear guidelines of their deployments and local health services in rehabilitation within a defined coordination mechanism in disaster-affected areas. In the context, effective national strategic planning is to include continuum of health related rehabilitation services from preparedness, early response phase to the community level from where the patient is coming:  in light of WHO rehab 2030 for rehabilitation capacity building at all levels.

Kind attention is required on

  1. Health related Rehabilitation capacity building for national disaster preparedness and response strategic planning – implementing committee/team.
  2. Inclusion of “Disaster preparedness and health related rehabilitation” in the medical training course curriculum
  3. Arrangement of /providing short course training to the disaster immediate/early responders (community leaders, political leaders, religious leaders-eg..imam/muazzin)
  4. Fund placements for skill development, training and research in health related rehabilitation
  5. Continuous WHO’s coordinating role of IHR(International Health Regulations 2005) for health related preparedness at disaster medical rehabilitation of the  Government /non-government state actors, NGO and  INGOs and other NSAs

Thank You for kind attention.

Professor Taslim Uddin

Chairman, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka. Bangladesh

Representing ISPRM (International Society of Physical Rehabilitation

Email:, Phone: +8801715101418