In 2020, WFNR set up a Task Force on the global burden of neurorehabilitation and the interaction with WHO and other organisations.
The members of this Task Force are Matilde Leonardi (Italy), Nirmal Surya (India), Mayowa Owolabi (Nigeria), Caterina Pistarini (Italy) and Stephanie Clarke (Switzerland).
Recent Developments in the World Health Organization and Role of the WFNR
The purpose of this brief article is to summarize the role of the World Federation for Rehabilitation (WFNR) in important recent events at the World Health Organization (WHO). The WFNR has been identified by several units at WHO as the primary neurorehabilitation organization to provide input on key issues. The WFNR therefore has a unique opportunity to represent the relevance of neurorehabilitation to address the needs of all persons suffering from neurological disorders causing disabilities throughout the world.
The WFNR created a WHO Task Force, chaired by Matilde Leonardi, to deal with WHO issues. Several WFNR members also deserve special recognition including Caterina Pistarini, Marta Imamura, Mayowa Owolabi, Stephanie Clarke and Leonard Li.
Several years ago, WHO recognized neurological disorders (outside of mental health) as a major public health crisis. A landmark resolution was passed to create an Intersectoral Global Action Plan on Epilepsy and other Neurological Disorders, commonly referred to as the IGAP. An extensive draft document addressing multiple issues related to neurological disorders throughout the lifetime was created. This was very comprehensive and included items related to clinical care, social issues, health care infrastructure, healthcare personnel, health care delivery systems, and research, among others. The document focused largely on identification of issues. Multiple neurological organizations were asked to provide input, and we were honored that the WFNR was asked to evaluate the draft document from the perspective of neurorehabilitation. The WFNR also became a partner with One Neurology, an international organization that has assisted with the development of the GAP. We were concerned that neurorehabilitation was not adequately addressed in the first draft of the IGAP. The WFNR worked hard to remedy this in subsequent versions, with some success.
In addition to WFNR input to the IGAP document, WFNR has a long history of cooperation with WHO units, including long standing collaboration with the Disability and Rehabilitation unit. An important document entitled Rehabilitation 2030 demonstrated a tremendous unmet need for rehabilitation services, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The WFNR has also collaborated with the relatively new WHO Brain Health Unit since 2020 and was asked to provide specific information regarding how the WFNR could further the mission of Brain Health.
The final version of the Global Action Plan is expected to be approved by the WHO World Health Assembly in May 2022. What steps can the WFNR take to promote the implementation of the recommendations in the GAP and strengthen the involvement with WHO? Here are suggestions:
-Continue our partnership with One Neurology to support their efforts to implement GAP recommendations.
-Improve communication with the WHO Brain Health Unit.
-Define next steps to make the WFNR an NGO in an official relationship with WHO.
-Develop a clearer delineation of what WFNR can offer to WHO.
-Determine what WHO is expected to do for WFNR in terms of sharing tasks and defining targets and indicators for collaboration.
-Identify all relevant issues to neurorehabilitation in the final IGAP report and prepare a paper on this.
The WFNR WHO Task Force will address these issues and report back to the WFNR Presidium on a regular basis.
President, World Federation for Neurorehabilitation
International Survey Task Force
The Task Force members are Izumi Kondo (Japan), Marta Imamura (Brazil), Sabahat Asim Wasti (UAE) and Caterina Pistarini (Italy).
In July 2021, a Task Force was set up to look at the economic and social impact of rehabilitation.
The members of this Task Force are Dafin Muresanu (Romania), Marta Imamura (Brazil) and Nirmal Surya (India).
If you would like any information on any of these groups, please contact the WFNR central office, email@example.com