The paper “Global estimates of the need for rehabilitation based on the Global Burden of Disease study 2019”, published in the world’s leading medical journal The Lancet, provides the first-ever global and regional figures on the number of people in need of rehabilitation.
According to this landmark global study, jointly developed by WHO and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), one third of the world’s population are living with a health condition that benefit from rehabilitation. The need has increased 63% since 1990, rising from 1.48 billion to 2.41 billion people.
The global estimates establish rehabilitation as a key strategy for universal health coverage in the 21st century and challenge the common view of rehabilitation being an optional service that is only needed by a minority of the population. The findings indicate the urgent need to scale up rehabilitation, particularly at primary health care level, to ensure services reach those who need them. The study provides a strong case for policymakers to prioritize rehabilitation to address the functioning needs of their population.