Multi-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation of people with polio

The WHO disability rehabilitation team in Tajikistan conducted a course on poliomyelitis (polio) rehabilitation management in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 25–28 October 2016 in collaboration with representatives of the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO).

The 4-day short intensive course was conducted for 62 participants responsible for polio management in Tajikistan and working as physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, orthotists, psychiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons. 32 children and adults with polio participated in the training, allowing the Tajik health care personnel to work with the visiting faculty and provide services such as adjusting orthoses, developing new home exercise programmes and making additional treatment recommendations.

The key message in the training is that an integrated multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation ensures optimal functioning and supports those with a disabling condition to remain as independent as possible, participate in education, be economically productive and fulfil meaningful life roles.

The initiative is part of a disability rehabilitation programme implemented by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MOHSP) with technical support from WHO and financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Polio in Tajikistan

Tajikistan experienced a large polio outbreak in 2010 that caused 461 laboratory-confirmed paralytic cases in the country and spread to 3 neighbouring countries. In the intervening years, many people affected by the outbreak have developed impairments and need long-term rehabilitation care.

Since 2013, intensive technical support has been provided by WHO to the MOHSP on rehabilitation management of persons with polio. The project has included:

  • door-to-door rehabilitation assessment and intervention planning in all of the polio-affected districts covering 85% of all the children and young adults affected by polio;
  • support in implementing the rehabilitation plans,
  • support in conduction of complicated orthopedic surgeries;
  • training of health professionals on polio rehabilitation in the polio-affected districts.