Rehabilitation, a core expertise
Physical and functional rehabilitation pave the way to autonomy for a person with a disability.
© L. Veuve / HI
As a pioneer in humanitarian rehabilitation, natural disaster, and conflict settings, HI has firmly embedded physical and functional rehabilitation components into many of its projects over the last 35 years.
rehabilitation projects in 49 countries
carried out by HI
notre temps de réponse
people worldwide received
people were followed up in the context
of the Syrian crisis
Rehabilitation helps people with impairments, illness or recovery reach and maintain their maximum physical capacity. It can also prevent or slow any deterioration in people’s functional abilities. The care provided does include corrective and reconstructive surgery, but the vast majority concerns physiotherapy and occupational therapy based rehabilitation with input from orthoprosthesists. Rehabilitation professionals use a broad range of technical aids to help people with disabilities, such as crutches, orthoses, prostheses, wheelchairs.
Unique projects, adapted to the setting and each individual’s circumstances
The organisation refuses cookie-cutter approaches—intervention strategies are developed based on a systematic, multisector, detailed analysis which considers:
The expressed and expected needs of future beneficiaries, the geographical location of the identified needs (ease of access, in particular), the potential involvement of the person's family and community, etc.
The presence, or not, of qualified professionals and services, the capacity of the existing health system to provide continuity of care, and patient follow-up options.
HI works to set up a community support system specific to each individual: community-based rehabilitation aims to teach the patient's family and friends the simple actions that can help them. It also aims to improve the patient's social integration by raising awareness among those around him.
This analysis makes it possible to determine the type of intervention, the appropriate level and types of services, as well as specific actions to implement. Any intervention is based on an in-depth understanding of disabling situations, environmental factors, and a person's lifestyle. Regardless of the duration of HI's mission in the country, we provide adapted, high quality, and sustainable rehabilitation services.
The depiction and use of boundaries, geographic names and related data shown on this map are not warranted to be error free nor do they necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by HI.
Rehabilitation is one link in the chain taht provides comprehensive support to people with disabilities. People who benefit from rehabilitation and adapted equipment can do things for themselves, such as communicating or going to work or school, and find it easier to establish their roles in their communities.
• Direct services
• Community-based rehabilitation projects help to develop local human resources—people capable of identifying, referring, and following up on the people they help
• Support for local actors as they implement high quality rehabilitation services (technical advice, training, management etc.) also helps to bolster regional capacity
• Some health structures need direct support, so we make practitioners available to them
• Some states and local authorities turn to HI to implement appropriate, sector-based policies
• Training is key, and our teams offer direct training, and also prepare new training programmes
Building a pipeline of rehabilitation talent
One of HI’s priorities is supplying countries with local rehabilitation professionals, and promoting the professions of occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and orthoprosthesist, which makes it possible to meet the needs of as many people with disabilities as possible.
The organisation relies on a pool of skilled professionals from these three sectors to implement its rehabilitation projects. Most importantly, though, it also offers appropriate training and support for authorities responsible for beginner and refresher courses. Indeed, training and upskilling local health actors are vital steps towards seeing new rehabilitation professionals emerge, and ensures the skills of existing professionals are maintained and improved. Remote education is preferred in emergency situations, such as in Syria and Yemen.
Services for all
Depending on the setting, the objectives may focus on the requirement, in crisis situations, to rapidly cover the needs to the greatest possible extent, and in post-emergency and development settings to ensure the transfer of skills and the establishment of appropriate, accessible, and viable services. HI relies, as heavily as possible, on maximizing the skills among local rehabilitation professionals, and develops close relationships with the health authorities. The organisation works to obtain rapid, tangible results to facilitate access for people with disabilities to rehabilitation services, whilst ensuring that conditions are favourable to the development of sustainable, high quality services.
Since its 1982 founding, HI has continued to improve its expertise and practices through partnerships with local and international organisations and with professional bodies, as well as by developing synergies with private companies.
The organisation oversees a number of research projects intended to improve and develop our methodological and technical resources. Teams also blend learning, 3D manufacturing, and the digital revolution to facilitate the remote monitoring and referral of patients. These resources are absolutely vital to identifying and prioritising the needs, rationalizing our approach, and assessing project impact. For example, HI places an emphasis on the use of new technologies to reduce the amount of travel required for orthopaedic fitting and rehabilitation appointments, for professional training sessions or coordination meetings between actors.
The organisation makes use of telephone and internet networks which are increasingly widely available. Through its project “Access to Rehabilitation Services on Islands” the organisation is exploring innovative solutions to the fundamental issue of people’s access to services, notably through the use of new technologies in the rehabilitation sectors in Haiti and Madagascar. Testing different methodologies and tools can trigger deeprooted changes in how we approach access to rehabilitation, including for governments and non-governmental organisations.
Photo : © Kate Holt / HI