When discussing health care in disability, it is essential to talk about rehabilitation. Yet it is not always obvious. Precisely for this prof. Stefano Negrini, as director of the Group of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Cochrane Rehabilitation), developed the comment “Prioritising people with disabilities implies furthering rehabilitation” to the editorial “Prioritising disability in universal health coverage“.
Both were published in the scientific journal Lancet.
“Unfortunately, it happens that even major magazines forget the central role of rehabilitation, which is why this comment had the aim of emphasising the theme. We fully agree with the Editors regarding the need to prioritise disability in universal health coverage – he commented Prof. Negrini – but we want to emphasise that for the World Health Organization (WHO) this implies also strengthening the rehabilitation health strategy.
Because of changing health and demographic trends, an increase in the number of people living with permanent disabilities, but also of people experiencing disabilities with the potential of recovery, has been observed.
1 billion people live with disabilities, while 2·4 billion people experience disabilities.
Rehabilitation serves both groups: by reducing the number of people transitioning from experiencing a disability to living with a disability, maximising the benefits of other health services, and reducing the overall costs“.
The comment concludes with these words: “WHO has included rehabilitation in the universal health coverage mandate together with other public health strategies including promotion, prevention, treatment, and palliative care… Paradoxically, the fundamental struggle for the rights of people living with disabilities somehow drove the attention to those with permanent and stable disabilities and social rehabilitation, without including those with evolving and changing conditions, who are the target groups of the rehabilitation health strategy. Rehabilitation strengthening advocated by WHO is in line with disability prioritisation emphasised in the Editorial, but will also reduce the burden of disability on the population and the costs of health services worldwide“.