World Education Joins the WHO’s World Rehabilitation Alliance

September 20th, 2023 | Press Release

Man completes rehabilitation exercises with support from a medical professional trained on rehabilitation practices through the USAID Okard project.

2.4 billion people around the world are living with a health condition that could benefit from rehabilitation. (1) However, in low- and middle-income countries, more than 50% of people are not receiving the rehabilitation they require.

To increase global access to rehabilitation services, the World Health Organization (WHO) created the World Rehabilitation Alliance (WRA), a global network of stakeholders working internationally in the field of rehabilitation. Recently, World Education was selected to join WRA, with the goal to raise awareness and demand for rehabilitation as an essential health service and support the implementation of the Rehabilitation 2030 Initiative.

“The Rehabilitation 2030 initiative draws attention to the profound unmet need for rehabilitation worldwide, and highlights the importance of strengthening health systems to provide rehabilitation.”

Bernard Franck and Donna Koolmees, members of our World Education Laos team, will participate in the workforce and primary health care work streams to share knowledge and work on WRA activities.

“As a member of the World Rehabilitation Alliance, I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to actively support efforts in improving the quality and accessibility of rehabilitation services worldwide. It is through this collective effort that we can create a stronger voice, connect and influence by sharing localized perspectives.” said Donna Koolmes, Senior Technical Disability Advisor for World Education Laos.

Strengthening the Rehabilitation Workforce in Laos

World Education has worked to improve the availability and quality of rehabilitation services in Laos since 2014. In partnership with USAID, the Okard project, is working with the Ministry of Health, in close coordination with the WHO, on health system strengthening for rehabilitation and in developing and improving policies, strategies, and protocols for effectively implementing and monitoring the National Rehabilitation Medicine Strategy.

Developing a strong rehabilitation workforce is essential, trainers can provide rehabilitation training to primary health care workers, so rehabilitation is available in more hospitals to help people live independently and participate equally in their communities. In addition, through public and private sector partnerships, the project is increasing local ownership of disability inclusion, rehabilitation, and mental health policies, and improved access to employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Effective Case Management in Myanmar

In Myanmar, we strengthened case management processes to document the needs of people with disabilities and connect them with rehabilitation service providers. We’ve engaged communities to raise awareness about disability and dismantle stigmas and barriers, and supported organizations to strengthen their ability to run disability-inclusive programs.

We are excited about the creation of a specialized alliance for rehabilitation, and we look forward to contributing to the broader conversation and bringing awareness to the rehabilitation needs of Laos’ population.



Partner with Us

World Education strives to build lasting relationships with partners across diverse geographic regions and technical sectors to produce better education outcomes for all.