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 in 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 in recovery to reach and maintain their maximum physical capacity. It can also prevent or slow any deterioration in people’s functional abilities. Although the care provided can include corrective and reconstructive surgery, it mostly of it concerns physiotherapy and occupational therapy-based rehabilitation with input from orthoprosthesistsorthopaedic technologists and orthotic and prosthetic technicians. 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:
people's individual situations
The expressed and expected needs of future beneficiaries, the geographical location of 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 sets up community support systems specific to each individual: community-based rehabilitation aims to teach a patient's family and friends simple actions that can help him/her and to improve his/her social integration by raising the awareness of those around him/her.
The above-mentioned analysis enables us to determine the type of intervention, the appropriate level and types of services, as well as any specific actions to be implemented. All our interventions are based on an in-depth understanding of disabling situations, environmental factors, and individual lifestyles. Regardless of the duration of HI's mission in the country, we provide adapted, high-quality, and sustainable rehabilitation services.
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 a link in a chain that 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 role in their communities.
- Direct services
- Community-based rehabilitation projects help to develop local human resources 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., which also helps bolster regional capacity.
- Some health facilities need direct support, so we send in practitioners
- 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, orthopaedic technologist and orthotic and prosthetic technician so that the needs of as many people with disabilities as possible can be met.
We rely on a pool of skilled professionals from these three sectors to implement our rehabilitation projects. But most importantly, we also offer appropriate training and support for authorities responsible for beginner and refresher courses. Indeed, training and upskilling local health actors are vital to the emergence of new rehabilitation professionals and for ensuring that the skills of existing professionals are maintained and improved. Remote training is preferred in emergency situations, such as in Syria and Yemen.
Services for all
In crisis situations, our objectives may focus on rapidly covering urgent needs and, in post-emergency and development settings, on ensuring the transfer of skills and the establishment of appropriate, accessible, and viable services. We endeavour to maximise the skills of local rehabilitation professionals and develop close relationships with the health authorities. We work to obtain rapid, tangible results to facilitate access for people with disabilities to rehabilitation services, whilst ensuring conditions that are favourable to the development of sustainable, high-quality services.
Since HI was founded in 1982, we have continued to improve our expertise and practices through partnerships with local and international organisations and with professional bodies, and by developing synergies with private companies.
Our organisation oversees a number of research projects intended to improve and develop our methodologies and technical resources. Teams also combine e-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 needs, rationalising 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 or for professional training sessions and coordination meetings between actors.
We make use of telephone and internet networks which are now more widely available. Through our “Access to Rehabilitation Services on Islands” project, we are 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 significant changes in how we approach access to rehabilitation, including for governments and non-governmental organisations.
Photo : © Kate Holt / HI