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Financial Access to Rehabilitation – Factsheet by Humanity & Inclusion

The factsheet was officially launched on 6th December, during a webinar hosted by Humanity & Inclusion, with the participation of speakers from the World Health Organisation and from the Network of organisations of persons with disabilities of Central America and the Caribbean. You can watch the webinar’s podcast here.

Building on the main findings emerging from comparative studies (carried out by Humanity & Inclusion) on the financial accessibility of rehabilitation services in 9 low and middle income countries, the fact-sheet analyses financial barriers and contains recommendations to guide effective actions that can improve access to rehabilitation for everyone.

Rehabilitation is a core health strategy, alongside promotion, prevention, treatment, and palliative care. Rehabilitation aims to enable persons who experience, or are likely to experience, disability to reach and maintain optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and/or social functioning.  Due to demographic change, including an ageing population, increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases and injuries, the need for rehabilitation is increasing worldwide.

However, rehabilitation services are often under-resourced, undeveloped, and excluded from financial protection mechanisms, in particular in low and middle-income countries. Financial barriers remain key reasons for not seeking or receiving rehabilitation, for many people.  Persons with disabilities are at higher risk of being left behind, as they face a 50% higher risk of incurring catastrophic healthcare costs.

Costs should not be a barrier to access an essential health service, as rehabilitation. The UN Political Declaration on UHC, adopted in September 2019, reaffirms that universal health coverage applies also to essential rehabilitation services. As countries work towards achieving universal health coverage, it is important to ensure that everyone receives affordable, effective and quality health services according to their needs, including rehabilitation and assistive products.