Rehabilitation is a key health strategy for the entire population addressing the broad needs of people who have difficulties in functioning across the human lifespan, not just for persons with disabilities.
On 1 September 2022, Dr. Sanong Thongsana, Deputy Minister of Health, chaired the National Rehabilitation Committee Meeting conducted by the Department of Health and Rehabilitation (DHR) with the support of USAID Okard. The focus of the Rehabilitation Committee was to discuss how to increase availability and quality access to assistive products for people that experience difficulties in functioning. DHR, the Center Medical of Rehabilitation (CMR), representatives from MOH departments, central and provincial hospital management, and the University of Health Sciences, participants discussed the need for a clear policy, a prioritized list of assistive products, and an effective system to provide them.
DHR and CMR shared their rehabilitation work plans for 2022-2023 highlighting the important activities to strengthen the health system on rehabilitation. Increasing the number of health professionals working on rehabilitation was raised as a key issue, and how training on essential rehabilitation interventions will be provided to health professionals from primary health care facilities by the CMR Continued Professional Development Facility supported by USAID Okard.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Sanong Thongsana reinforced the importance of increasing rehabilitation for health systems strengthening in Laos through provision of assistive products, training health professionals on rehabilitation, and equipping health facilities with human resources and necessary infrastructure.
USAID Okard, funded by USAID and implemented by World Education, Inc., in partnership with Humanity & Inclusion, improves access to quality rehabilitation and economic opportunities for persons with disabilities, and supports design and implementation of disabilities inclusive policy.