Handicap International Seminars



Challenges of an ageing population, increasing incidence and prevalence of chronic, disabling non-communicable diseases and the disabling effects of violence and injury are massive. Providing comprehensive rehabilitation can both prevent unnecessary disabilities and comorbidities, and ensure people with chronic disabilities can achieve their full potential and claim their rights in the community. While the need for quality health care is generally well understood, there are profound limitations in the availability of post-acute services. That is, our healthcare response has emphasised life-saving care without equal emphasis on what happens next.

While in general, functional rehabilitation is de-emphasised in global health discourse, recent documents including various national policy instruments and the World Report on Disability recognise that physical rehabilitation services is a necessary element of a comprehensive system. In low income and complex contexts, this is a particular challenge because of human resource shortages and inadequate funding of health care in general, and disability services particularly.
In these situations, rehabilitation has evolved in very unique ways. It is strongly linked to humanitarian responses, wider disability actions and is less connected with mainstream healthcare than in other settings.

At the same time, many agencies are seeking practical solutions to the day-to-day challenges of providing rehabilitation care. They are seeking standards and guidelines to direct their responses to the massive challenges that lie ahead, in organised, efficient ways.

Further, to meet the future demands, the rehabilitation workforce requires ongoing support to strengthen and lead a future response. Both foundation training for new professionals and ongoing development of existing professionals – in concert with strengthened policies and the overall sector – are necessary and overdue.


Handicap International rehabilitation professionals and its partner organisations will have a better understanding of the overall situation and current reforms in rehabilitation, and develop awareness and increased shared identity as members of a practice sector.


Participants will develop better knowledge of the global needs for rehabilitation services, current responses to those needs, as well as common areas of strength and complex areas among participants. Participants will gain practical skills in emerging approaches to quality management of physical rehabilitation services, and build consensus on shared ways forward. Special emphasis will be paid to the current potential role of continuing professional development to respond to these challenges. Participants will be invited to contribute to the development of statements on shared visions for the rehabilitation sector in low-income settions, priority areas for reform and the future of Continuing Professional Development.