Health system strengthening refers to initiatives that improve one or more functions of health systems, leading to better health. There is a large body of evidence on what works to strengthen health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), much of which is aligned to the World Health Organization (WHO) health system building blocks (service delivery; health workforce; information; medical products, vaccines and technologies; financing; and leadership/governance). Despite the fact that some people with disabilities have additional health needs, and many face additional barriers to accessing healthcare, inclusion of people with disabilities is largely missing from this evidence base. Separately, a smaller evidence base exists on increasing the effectiveness of specific health-related services targeting people with disabilities, such as health-related Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), rehabilitation services more broadly, and mental health services. This second evidence base is less closely aligned to the building blocks. Reviewing these outputs in parallel goes some way towards identifying effective strategies for strengthening health systems for disability inclusive development.
Links to resources on information about COVID-19 for the general public and also specifically for health workers are provided. Links are provided for country specific information.
A COVID safe workplace plan template and a COVID workplace attendance register template have been developed to help health services and departments in the Pacific region to plan for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace.
Some psychology tips, advice and links to articles that you might find helpful in dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Resources both for the public and for professionals are listed.
A COVID-19 Humanitarian platform to gather, curate, analyze, interpret and disseminate COVID-19-specific and -sensitive interventions that are being implemented in a variety of humanitarian settings.
The goal is to facilitate the sharing of context-specific field experiences about how humanitarian programs are responding to and being adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. This website will host both technical guidelines as well as operational field experiences from humanitarian actors in different settings.
BMJ's covid-19 hub supports health professionals and researchers with practical guidance, online CPD courses, as well as the latest news, comment, and research from BMJ. The content is free and updated daily.
Adivice is given on the approach to supporting people with a learning disability and people with autism when providing treatment for COVID-19
Guideline to help when PWD who are hopitalised due to COVID-19.
Cochrane provides high-quality, relevant, and up-to-date synthesized research evidence to inform health decisions. This page highlights content relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the various related activities that Cochrane is undertaking in response.
We will be continually adding updates and additions to this page. Sections include information and resources for:
- Public, patients, and carers
- Healthcare workers
- Policy and guideline developers
- The Cochrane Community
This research article focuses on optimising the performance of frontline implementers engaged with NTD programme delivery in Nigeria. Three broad themes are examined: technical support, social support and incentives
Qualitative data was collected through participatory stakeholder workshops. Eighteen problem-focused workshops and 20 solution-focussed workshops were held in 12 selected local government areas (LGA) across two states in Nigeria, Ogun and Kaduna States
Human Resources for Health, 2019 Nov 1;17(1):79
Background: The South African Department of Health identified the need to train a new cadre of community health worker (CHW) in the field of rehabilitation as part of their 2030 Health Plan that aims to improve primary healthcare (PHC) and community-based rehabilitation (CBR). Community health workers can be effectively utilised in CBR if their role is understood and their potential is not limited by professional protectionism and scepticism. A clear understanding of the scope of practice of a new cadre will minimise resistance by health professionals.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore rehabilitation health professionals’ perception of the role of the new cadre, called rehabilitation care workers (RCWs), in South African healthcare.
Methods: Q-methodology was used to gather and interpret the data. A convenient sample of 16 health professionals participated in the study. Participants ranked statements about the role of the RCWs from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Data were entered into PQMethod software program for statistical and factor analysis.
Results: Two factors emerged. Participants loading onto Factors 1 and 2 were of the opinion that RCWs’ role would be to strengthen PHC and CBR and to promote participation of people with disabilities (PWD) in intermediate care and community.
Conclusion: Rehabilitation health professionals’ positive perception of the new cadre is encouraging so that it could ensure their effective utilisation in CBR. Rehabilitation care workers were perceived as capable of enhancing the lives of PWD by ensuring inclusive development.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019
This guide provides tips for people with disabilities and their caregivers to properly handle prescriptions and manage medications. Practical advice is given on:
- How to read medication labels
- Managing medications at home
- Medication strategies for people with visual impairments
- Medication management for people with a physical disability and/or mobility limitations
- Medication management for people with intellectual disabilities
- Tips for effective medication management as the caregiver of a person with a disability
Over the past three years, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have been embroiled in a cycle of violence that has claimed an estimated 2,000 lives and uprooted almost half a million people from their homes. People with disabilities caught in the violence struggle to flee to safety when their communities come under attack. They also face difficulties in getting necessary assistance.
Between January and May 2019, Human Rights Watch interviewed 48 people with disabilities living in the Anglophone regions, their family members, representatives of UN agencies, and national and international humanitarian organizations to investigate how the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions has disproportionately affected people with disabilities. Some of their stories are presented.
This manual aims to facilitate mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) experts and managers in designing, implementing and evaluating community-based MHPSS (CB MHPSS) programmes, projects and activities for emergency-affected and displaced populations in humanitarian settings. It is specifically designed to support managers and experts hired by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). However, it can also be used, in its entirety or in some of its components, by MHPSS experts and managers working for IOM’s partners, including international and national governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), countries, donors and civil society groups.
The first chapter introduces concepts, models and principles of CB MHPSS work; the other chapters are operational and programmatic. These chapters are of two types: •
Those that have to do with the process of a CB MHPSS programme:
Engaging with communities; - Assessing and mapping; - Psychosocial mobile teams; - Technical supervision and training; - Monitoring and evaluation; - Plus two annexes on coordination and ethical considerations. •
Those that introduce specific CB MHPSS activities: - Sociorelational and cultural activities; - Creative and art-based activities; - Rituals and celebrations; - Sport and play; - Non-formal education and informal learning; - Integration of mental health and psychosocial support in conflict transformation and mediation; - Integrated mental health and psychosocial support, and livelihood support; - Strengthening mental health and psychosocial support in the framework of protection; - Counselling; - Community-based support for people with severe mental disorders.
There is great variation across countries regarding the rehabilitation needs of the population, characteristics of the health system and the challenges that face rehabilitation. For this reason, it is important for each country to identify their own priorities and develop a rehabilitation strategic plan. A rehabilitation strategic plan should seek to increase the accessibility, quality and outcomes of rehabilitation.
To assist countries to develop a comprehensive, coherent and beneficial strategic plan, WHO has developed Rehabilitation in health systems: guide for action. This resource leads governments through a four-phase process of (1) situation assessment; (2) strategic planning; (3) development of monitoring, evaluation and review processes; and (4) implementation of the strategic plan. This process utilizes health system strengthening practices with a focus on rehabilitation.
The Rehabilitation in health systems: guide for action provides practical help that directs governments through the four phases and twelve steps. The process can take place at national or subnational level. Typically phases 1 to 3 occur over a 12-month period, while phase 4 occurs over the period of the strategic plan, around 5 years. The four phases and accompanying guidance are outlined below
Sightsavers has produced a new film that sets out our work to make health care services accessible and inclusive for everyone. It focuses on our programmes in Bhopal, India and Nampula, Mozambique. This highlights how we work and share learnings globally, but also shows how programmes can be made locally relevant by working with partners with direct experience.
The film showcases some of the people who work hard to make our inclusive health programmes a success, from Sightsavers experts and government health workers to leaders of disabled people’s organisations.
To find out more our inclusive health work and how we are developing best practice in terms of inclusive health programmes, visit our website: https://www.sightsavers.org/disability/health/
The unmet need for rehabilitation is profound and is likely to worsen as population health shifts towards longer lives lived with more ill-health and disability. The WHO Global Action Plan on Disability and the Rehabilitation 2030 framework  call for quality evidence to inform targeted responses.
The intent of this work is to examine six IDSCs (Integrated Disability Service Centres) in detail but to use the results to inform new activities through the network of more than 100 Integrated Disability Service Centres, with potential to influence practice in other services. As such, results of this work have the potential to directly inform policy decisions concerning future investments in rehabilitation services in Bangladesh and bring awareness to key stakeholders on current challenges and potential solutions.
Research was conducted during March-October 2018 in Kurigram, Tangail, Manikgonj, Dhaka and Narsingdi districts of Bangladesh to map out the current trends and determinants of good coordination
between health and rehabilitation, emphasising quantitative measures of: timeliness, continuity, acceptability, availability and integration
Background: Much has been done regarding the promotion of equality in rights in terms of legislation, but persons with disabilities remain marginalised in society. Negative attitudes and prejudice contribute towards numerous challenges for persons with disabilities.
Objectives: This study investigated the level of empathy and prejudice of students towards persons with disabilities, and the effect of the use of a serious game to enhance empathy and reduce prejudice.
Method: A randomised controlled experiment with pre-test, post-test and follow-up test was used. Availability sample (N = 83) of psychology university students (22% males; 78% females) was divided into an experimental group that played the serious game The World of Empa and two control groups. The first control group received texts on case studies and information on reacting in a sensitive and responsive way, and the second control group received no intervention.
Results: Participants have average levels of empathy (score: 32 to 52) and strong prejudice (score: 0.08 to −0.87) towards persons with disabilities. The intervention results in a slight short-term effect for prejudice and sub-scale measurements of empathy. A slight improvement was noted in participants’ ability to transpose themselves imaginatively into the experience of disabled characters.
Conclusion: The findings contribute to the understanding of empathy as a dynamic component that can be positively influenced by, for example, a serious game. These results have teaching implications on the facilitation of empathy. The short-term effect on empathy and prejudice towards persons with disabilities may contribute to bridge the inequality experienced by persons with disabilities.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019
A briefing paper concerning refugees and displaced people in Syria.
Recommendations are made covering
- Explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), explosive contamination and mine action
- Health care and health needs – physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support and mental health
- Inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Syrian humanitarian response
- Continuity of services, humanitarian access and protection of humanitarian workers
- Durable solutions / refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)
Individual issues briefs are available for some of these
Purpose: Over the past decade there has been a growing focus on offering appropriate training to healthcare professionals and caregivers to support safe feeding practices for children with cerebral palsy. Early and consistent multidisciplinary intervention is required to minimise the risks of aspiration pneumonia. The high incidence of complications from aspiration pneumonia among children with cerebral palsy in Sri Lanka has made it necessary to conduct low-cost multidisciplinary team-led dysphagia awareness workshops for healthcare professionals and caregivers.
Method: A group of 38 Public Health Midwives (PHMs) was offered an experiential workshop by a small multidisciplinary team (MDT). To determine changes in knowledge, a self-administered questionnaire that included a video-based client scenario was administered pre- and post-workshop. The data were analysed statistically using non-parametric within-participant t-tests.
Results: The post-workshop responses to the questionnaire indicated a significant increase in the level of knowledge. This included positive changes in the understanding and knowledge of cerebral palsy (t (37) =-7.44, p=.000), effects of cerebral palsy on eating and drinking skills (t (37) =-3.91, p=.000), positioning (t (37) = -9.85, p=.000), aspiration (t (37) =-3.46, p=.001), food categorisation (t (37), -3.85, p=.000) and client video observation (t (37)-3.91, p=.000) at a p=.05 level of significance. While there was also an increase in the knowledge on general guidelines during mealtimes, this did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusion: The low-cost MDT-led experiential workshop was effective in increasing knowledge of feeding and dysphagia-related issues in cerebral palsy among a group of PHMs. This workshop could serve as a model for training PHMs and Community-Health Workers across the country in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of ‘good health and well-being’ for children with cerebral palsy and all children experiencing feeding difficulties. Follow-up workshops and continued professional development courses for midwives on dysphagia care are strongly recommended, in addition to collaborative clinical practice.
Papers included in this special issue are:
- The UNICEF/Washington Group Child Functioning Module—Accuracy, Inter-Rater Reliability and Cut-Off Level for Disability Disaggregation of Fiji’s Education Management Information System
- Disability and Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Cameroon: A Mediation Analysis of the Role of Socioeconomic Factors
- Assessing the Impact of the Twin Track Socio-Economic Intervention on Reducing Leprosy-Related Stigma in Cirebon District, Indonesia
- Factors Influencing Disability Inclusion in General Eye Health Services in Bandung, Indonesia: A Qualitative Study
- Unmet Needs and Use of Assistive Products in Two Districts of Bangladesh: Findings from a Household Survey
- Analysis of Social Determinants of Health and Disability Scores in Leprosy-Affected Persons in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India
- Developing Behaviour Change Interventions for Improving Access to Health and Hygiene for People with Disabilities: Two Case Studies from Nepal and Malawi
- Intersections Between Systems Thinking and Market Shaping for Assistive Technology: The SMART (Systems-Market for Assistive and Related Technologies) Thinking Matrix
- Adverse Childhood Experiences in Children with Intellectual Disabilities: An Exploratory Case-File Study in Dutch Residential Care
- Risk of Exclusion in People with Disabilities in Spain: Determinants of Health and Poverty
- Implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) Core Sets for Children and Youth with Cerebral Palsy: Global Initiatives Promoting Optimal Functioning
- Challenges in Accessing Health Care for People with Disability in the South Asian Context: A Review
- A Systematic Review of Access to Rehabilitation for People with Disabilities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
- A Systematic Review of Access to General Healthcare Services for People with Disabilities in Low and Middle Income Countries
Source e-bulletin on Disability and Inclusion