Scaling up access to rehabilitation services in Georgia

WHO/Satish Mishra

With technical support from WHO, the Georgian Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs has initiated work to increase access to rehabilitation services and assistive devices in the country.

Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and glasses, are designed to assist people in carrying out day-to-day activities. Rehabilitation services are critical for improving the well-being of people with injuries, noncommunicable diseases and disabilities, as well as the ageing population.

WHO is assessing the current disability, rehabilitation and assistive technology landscape in Georgia, and mapping out enablers in the sector to define how to best support the country in strengthening rehabilitation policy, systems and services as part of universal health coverage. During a visit on 15 to 19 April 2019, WHO met with ministries, United Nations agencies, development partners and user groups to assess the current situation and define the scope of engagement.

The Government is keen to strengthen rehabilitation services and access to assistive products through the country’s flagship programme on universal health coverage. It looks forward to working with WHO to develop an overall policy framework on rehabilitation for Georgia.

Rehabilitation services: critical to address the challenge of ageing populations

In the 21st century, the WHO European Region faces a new set of challenges: rapid population ageing accompanied by a rise in chronic conditions and multimorbidity. Strengthening rehabilitation within health systems is essential to create accessible services and increase access to assistive products.

WHO initiated a 4-year programme (2018–2022) to strengthen rehabilitation in the Region, and Georgia is one of the priority countries. The programme is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).