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Regional activities

1-3 March 2024

Report prepared for WFNR by Prof Dr Muhammad Naveed Babu


RASCON-24, the largest-ever Rehabilitation and Allied Health Sciences Conference in Pakistan organised by Superior University in collaboration with the Pakistan Society for Neuro-rehabilitation (PSNR), stands as a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of rehabilitation and allied healthcare. Spearheaded by Chairman, RASCON-24 and President of the Pakistan Society for Neurorehabilitation, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naveed Babur, this conference marked a significant milestone in advancing the fields of rehabilitation and allied health sciences. Its endorsement by the World Federation for Neuro-rehabilitation (WFNR) further underscored its global importance.


President-WFNR, Prof. Volker Homberg, and Vice-President-WFNR (UAE Region), Dr. Sabahat Wasti, joined the conference in person in Pakistan alongside the remote participation of Vice-President-WFNR, (South Asia Region), Dr. Nirmal Surya, highlighted the international significance of RASCON-24. With over 10 international speakers from Canada, South Korea, Germany, UAE and Jordan, and 51 national speakers across Pakistan, the conference served as a centre of healthcare expertise, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among professionals from diverse backgrounds.

RASCON-24 provided a comprehensive platform for discussing the latest advancements, research findings, and emerging trends in rehabilitation and allied health sciences. Through 54 oral presentations, 125 poster presentations, and 34 workshops, more than 1800 attendees gained insights into innovative treatment modalities, evidence-based practices, and practical skills essential for effective patient care.

The interactive nature of the workshops allowed participants to delve into various aspects of rehabilitation, gaining hands-on experience under the guidance of leading professionals.

Moreover, the networking opportunities offered by RASCON-24 facilitated connections among researchers, practitioners, educators, and policymakers, paving the way for future collaborations and partnerships.




RASCON-24 garnered immense acclaim from both the National Press and social media audiences, featuring prominently on over 10 news channels and reaching a staggering half a million individuals through social  media platforms.

RASCON-24 was not merely a conference but a catalyst for change in the realm of rehabilitation and allied health sciences. Its diverse program, famed speakers, and global
recognition have left an indelible mark on the field, setting a precedent for future endeavours.


2nd Scientific Congress of SAFNeR & 1st Conference of the Neurorehabilitation Training, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 21-22 February 2024

National and international experts met in Yaounde within the framework of the first Cameroon Neurorheabilitation Association coupled with the second congress of the Societe d'Afrique Francophone de Neurorehabilitation (SAFNER).  The theme of the congress was "Neurorehabilitation in French speaking Africa:  Challenges of Interdisciplinary".

Flying Faculty Meeting, Peshawar, Pakistan
February 2024

This is our report of the Flying Faculty (FF) composed mostly of SIG Chairs of WFNR which had
been invited to give again a course on Neurorehabilitation as part of a new series of neurosurgical conferences organized in Peshawar/Khyber Pashtuna/Pakistan, february 23-26, 2024: Global Neurosurgery by the WFNS Committee on Global Neurosurgery headed by Prof. Tariq Khan from Peshawar, with the intention to bring more information and training possibilities to the low and middle income countries (LMICs) (MM being member of this committee). In parallel with this conference other teaching courses were also held in the compounds of Northwest Medical School e.g. on Brachial Plexus and Nerve Injury, Spine Surgery incl. Instrumentation in neurotrauma patients, and a course of Global Neuro Essentials for Neurotrauma.

As WFNR was unable to provide travel support to the international FF, MM requested financial
support from the Gisela Hagemann Foundation in Kiel/Germany. This foundation was installed in Kiel in 2010, MM being the chairman, with the aim to support spinal cord injured patients, as well as research and teaching in this area. After having given a course on broader topics of
neurorehabilitation in 2019, the main topic of lectures was, this time, on spinal cord injury and
treatment of complications. MM demonstrated to the (mostly female) audience the role model
of Mrs. Hagemann: She successfully led their company of scaffolders after her husband's death, who had spent the last year in a wheelchair.

The faculty consisted of Drs. Bazo (who could not attend on short notice and was to speak via
Zoom), Hagen, Wasti and Mehdorn; additionally Dr. Roser, chief neurosurgeon from Abu Dhabi
Cleveland Clinic agreed to share his experiences on syringomyelia as longterm complication
following SCI, on the invitation of Dr. Wasti. The faculty was enlarged by participation of 2 local experts, Dr. Shahim for Aga Khan Hospital Karachi and Dr. S.M. Ilyas, CEO of Paraplegia Center Peshawar.

Despite the number of courses given parallel to Neurorehabilitation and other sessions/lectures running, the course on Neurorehabilitation attracted more than 120 attendees, who received a certificate at the end of the course.

All faculty members were enthusiastic about the teaching and the vividness of the audience, and all delivered excellent lectures on their respective fields of particular interest and knowledge – teaching from basic facts to more sophisticated technologies. I think we were able to cover the most important fields of spinal neurorehabilitation and we conveyed the message that Neurorehabilitation is essential also – and particularly - in these middle and low income countries.

The audience consisted mostly of students of physiotherapy of various levels (bachelor and higher) but also included medical students, doctors of physiotherapy and some neurologists and neurosurgeons.  Although they were at various levels of knowledge, we all had the impression – as witnessed through discussions with the students - that they understood the main messages so that we really could help them to see more sense in their learning and their future profession – e.g. balancing the need of physicians’ guidance and physio-/ergotherapy importance.

At the same time, listening to the local speakers who also delivered excellent lectures and were very cordially received by the auditorium, we learned a lot about the local facilities: Most patients are treated only in an acute fashion and then sent home being left alone. There's only one probably excellent military rehabilitation institution with very limited access for the non-military population. Even the very well-equipped Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi does not have a rehabilitation unit included.

On the other hand, there is still the single Paraplegia Center in Peshawar which has a very peculiar history: It was instituted by the International Committee of the Red Cross during the war in Afghanistan in the 70s and was abandoned at the end of the war. It was given back its original destination in the early 90s; it is the only spinal cord injury center in Pakistan and also still cares for patients coming from Afghanistan. It is led by a very dynamic personality – a physiotherapist with dual nationality Pakistani and US - who again gave an excellent talk at the end of the meeting, so we – Drs. Hagen, Roser, Wasti and Mehdorn - went to visit the center, at the end of the conference February 26 and after a fabulous ride to Khyber pass, and spent many hours discussing with the principal and his staff areas of mutual interest and to learn how this problem is dealt with in Pakistan. MM could see the progress they had made since his last visit in 2019, and we all were very much impressed by the possibilities and the development they have made over recent years, and we pledged we will try to help them in the future. Although our visit took place after the regular working hours many therapists were still eager to show us their achievements. This is even more impressive as nearly all machinery is homemade and therefore affordable to the patients and their families who receive this for free or minimal fee.

A medicopolitical task for the future will certainly be to overcome the gap between acute
neurosurgery/neurology/orthopedics and neurorehabilitation - and the neurosurgical committee agreed to further work on this issues on a global scale, joining forces with WFNR.

Needless to mention that we all were very much impressed by the great Pakistani / Pashtuni
Hospitality and organizational skills: We were taken from and to the airport on time as requested, we were housed in the Five Star Hotel Serena in Peshawar, we were brought to and from the conference site, the Northwest Medical Campus, by a police-escorted bus, and to all other activities as well. Yet we did not feel insecure in the living city of Peshawar and its province.

So we would like to conclude that it was a great learning experience for all of us and that we
definitely think we could bring some knowledge on Neurorehabilitation to the peoples of
Peshawar and Northern Pakistan. At the end we would like to thank the WFNR Presidium to have
considered support to our Flying Faculty to Peshawar, and to the Gisela Hagemann Foundation
for making this trip possible to the speakers. We hope to be of further help in other parts of the world as well, to promote neurorehabilitation to the benefit of the patients in need. The request for a further neurotrauma course including neurorehabilitation which had been voiced for April 2021 in Addis Ababa and could not be followed due to pandemia, was reiterated during later discussions. 

Peshawar, February 26, 2024

Humberto Cerrel Bazo, Ellen Hagen, Maximilian Mehdorn, Florian Roser, Sabahat Wasti

Program of the Course february 26, 2024; 9.30 – 15.30,
NorthWest School of Medicine Peshawar Pakistan

Maximilian Mehdorn:
Presentation of Gisela Hagemann Foundation for Paraplegia
Ethical Aspects for Neurorehabilitation

Shahzad Shamim:
Learning from Pakistani Neurosurgeons – their needs and expectations in treating SCI

Maximilian Mehdorn:
ASIA – ISNCSCI Classification and its meanings for surgery and later course

Florian Roser:
Post-traumatic syringomyelia, its diagnostic and treatment

Sabahat Asim Wasti:
Spasticity and its management

Humberto A. Cerrel Bazo:
Spinal cord injury – improving outcome by improving therapy
Pain affecting Mobility after SCI

Ellen Merete Hagen:
Autonomic dysfunction after SCI
Management of Neuropathic bladder and bowel

Muhammas Ilyas Syed:
Comprehensive physical rehabilitation of people with SCI
Bringing peoples back to normal life in MLIC

The 18th Congress of the Society for the Study of Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity
in conjunction with the WFNR-EFNR Central Asia Regional Meeting
24 and 25 June 2023
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The 18th Congress of the Society for the Study of Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity in conjunction with the WFNR-EFNR Central Asia Regional Meeting, is set to take place on 24th and 25th of June 2023, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This scientific event promises to offer a substantive platform for the exchange of knowledge, recent research findings, and innovative practices in the field of neurorehabilitation and brain recovery.

A significant element of this convention is the WFNR-EFNR High-Level Meeting, planned for the 24th of June 2023. This meeting represents a component of an expansive outreach initiative directed by the EFNR and WFNR. The WFNR-EFNR operates as a synergistic network comprising of distinguished professionals in the sphere of neurorehabilitation, aiming to amplify the quality of neurorehabilitation services through mutualistic and collaborative strategies. The High-Level Meeting is intended to stimulate deeper cooperation among key participants within the realm of neurorehabilitation. With an acute emphasis on comprehending the current landscape of neurorehabilitation services, the meeting is committed to investigating ways in which the two federations can provide support and aid in improving these services. Of particular interest is the scrutiny of the current state of stroke services, especially acute rehabilitation and more expansive neurorehabilitation.

The agenda of the congress encompasses a wide range of subjects, from the fundamental principles and theories of neurorehabilitation and neuroprotection, to practical issues such as stroke recovery. The latter topic is of increasing importance considering the rising prevalence of this debilitating condition.

Further details

Eastern Europe Regional Meeting in conjunction with the Bistrita Clinical Neuroscience Conference

Eastern Europe Regional Meeting in conjunction with the Bistrita Clinical Neuroscience Conference, 31 March-1 April 2023, to be held in Bistrita, Romania, is a regional conference focused on potential developments of neurorehabilitation in Eastern Europe. It is organized by the World Federation of for Neurorehabilitation (WFNR) and the European Federation of NeuroRehabilitation Societies (EFNR).  WFNR, through its Eastern Europe Chapter and EFNR, as the leading forum on neurorehabilitation in Europe, have united their efforts in creating a unique stage for European neurorehabilitation experts.

The conference aims to bring together experts in neurorehabilitation in a multidisciplinary paradigm with the sole purpose of elaborating a joint action plan and expanding the WFNR/EFNR network and educational reach.

Delegations from Romania, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and the Republic of Moldova reunite in Bistrita at the end of March to identify the challenges and opportunities in the region and also to establish partnerships at institutional level between the National Neurorehabilitation Societies.  See here for further details.

WFNR and EFNR are planning a second regional conference for 25-26 June in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, focusing on the neurorehabilitation status in Central Asia.




THE AFRICAN STROKE ORGANIZATION was established on the 22nd of October 2020 with >178 drawn from the six continents of the world including Heads of International  (AHA/ASA, AFAN, SONA, WFNR, WHL, WHO, WSO, European Stroke Organization, United Kingdom, Brazilian Stroke Network), African Regional Stroke Support Organizations in attendance. Speaking during inauguration, the Chair Dr Rufus Akinyemi, noted that ASO was an important landmark in the annals of neuroscience and global health particularly in Africa. The ASO Co-chair and vice-president, WFNR SSA, Prof Owolabi noted that the formation of ASO is a great and historic event in the combined fight against stroke in the African continent. Warm appreciations were expressed to the Presidents of several organization including Prof David Good, President of the WFNR.


Webinar Meetings: The first webinar took place on 24th of March, 2021 with selected members of the WFNR flying faculty, neurology experts, trainees, professionals and allied professionals drawn from various parts of SSA and other pan-African countries in attendance.

World Health Events: A virtual presentation, organised by the Egyptian Hypertension Society, was made by Prof Mayowa Owolabi, This meeting had online attendees and presenters as well as members of the Egyptian Neurorehabilitation Association ably led by Prof Foad Abd-Allah.


Prof Mayowa Owolabi’s presentation slide during his presentation at the World Hypertension Day Organized by the Egyptian Neurorehabilitation Association


First WFNR-BLOSSOM Neurorehabilitation Conference in East, West and Central Africa

The Blossom Centre, WFNR and College of Medicine University of Ibadan played host to her maiden and second conference which had in attendance >220 drawn from across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, USA, UK, Germany; Italy, USA. This meeting featured WFNR flying faculty including Prof Barbara Wilson, Prof David Good, Prof Caterina Pistarini, Prof Wayne Feng, in addition to other faculty from Melbourne Australia

Group photograph with guest speakers and participants during the first and second neuro-rehabilitation conference which held in Ibadan, Nigeria



Formation of Neurorehabilitation Associations:

To oversee activities in SSA region and provision of member support among relevant professional bodies, the Nigeria Federation of Neurorehabilitation [NFNR] was birthed in 2017 in Nigeria and others including Beninese Association for Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation (ABEKIR) and the Cameroon Association of Neurorehabilitation (NEREMODIS) etc.


The Blossom Centre recently moved to its permanent and ambient structure as part of expanding its reach and impact, with sixteen neuro-professionals, a handful of young medical trainees who provide an array of services for its teeming clientele and patients base of over 1000

The New Blossom Centre (Permanent site)


With support from WFNR, our Regional Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa established the Blossom Neurorehabilitation Center in Ibadan, Nigeria.  

Neurorehabilitation is very new to the 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Raising awareness among patients, service providers and the population in general is key and this enables them to take advantage of the facilities at the WFNR - Blossom Specialist Medical Centre.

TREAT - an acronym of the secretariat's strengths and prospects

Therapeuti: The Centre is recording the improved quality of life of patients with the introduction of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) which complements wervice delivery and better health outcomes.

Research: There are several studies underway at the Centre.  The `Tailored Hospital-based Risk Reduction to Impede Vascular Events after Stroke' or THRIVES study is designed to sustain effective treatment and self care management in order to prevent secondary stroke.  A study involving a treatment that controls blood pressure is on-going followed by the pilot phase conclusion and qualitative phase.

The largest study of stroke in Africa has commenced: the `Stroke Investigative Research and Education network' (SIREN) is a multidisciplinary collaborative research network designed to focus on exploring ways to promote a better understanding of the socio-demographic, clinical and genetic characteristics of stroke.  These studies all constitute parts of the stroke quadrangle of which rehabilitation is a major pillar.

Enlightenment:  A cross section of physicians drawn across the south-western states of Nigeria met for a one day Clopidogrel expert meeting held in Ibadan, Nigeria. Exclusive live television interviews were conducted on the burden of, and rehabilitation for, stroke.

Advocacy:  State and institutional support in relation to stroke prevention and rehabilitation were solicited from the Commissioner for Health, the CMDs of THRIVIES study centres and medical professionals.  Unanimously, stroke prevention was highly endorsed with commitments pledges as and when needed.  Discussions have commenced to widen the scope and delivery of the secretariat's services to under-serviced communities at grassroots level.

Training: Plans are underway to leverage established collaborations with institutions across Africa including Egypt and Sudan, to interact with the WFNR with the aim of improving the neurorehabilitation capability of professionals across the continent.