The Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria convened in the Federal Capital Territory to formulate an action plan aimed at integrating rehabilitation into Universal Health Coverage by the year 2030. The comprehensive strategy encompasses aspects of practice, training, and regulation.
During the extensive meeting, which brought together various medical practitioners and health security experts, stakeholders focused on implementing the Rehabilitation Competency Framework, Package of Interventions in Rehabilitation, and Rehabilitation in the Health System. These initiatives were introduced by the World Health Organization in August 2023.
Prof Rufai Yusuf Ahmad, the Registrar and CEO of MRTB, outlined the primary objectives of the meeting, emphasizing the need for substantial changes in the practices, training, research, and regulation of rehabilitation professionals through multidisciplinary planning. He sought the support of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and urged the government to collaborate in achieving the outlined agenda before the set target of 2030.
Addressing the gathering, Ahmad highlighted the WHO’s definition of rehabilitation as a set of interventions designed to optimize functionality and reduce disability. He underscored that rehabilitation plays a pivotal role in achieving universal health coverage, enhancing health and well-being, improving the quality of life, delaying long-term care, and empowering individuals to realize their full potential within society.
Global data indicates that approximately 2.41 billion people worldwide could benefit from rehabilitation services, with at least one in every three individuals requiring rehabilitation during their disease or injury. The demand for rehabilitation has surged by 63% between 1990 and 2017 due to factors such as an aging population, the rising prevalence of non-communicable health conditions, and evolving epidemiological profiles in most countries.
To address these challenges, the World Health Assembly of the WHO adopted a resolution on “Strengthening Rehabilitation in Health Systems” during its 76th session on May 28, 2023. This resolution signifies a concerted effort to tackle the growing need for rehabilitation services globally.