University of Oulu

Stucki, G., Bickenbach, J., Kiekens, C., Negrini, S., & Stam, H. (2020). Reflections of the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine on the first global estimates of the need for rehabilitation and the implications for physical and rehabilitation medicine. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 52(12), jrm00131.

Reflections of the European Academy of rehabilitation medicine on the first global estimates of the need for rehabilitation and the implications for physical and rehabilitation medicine

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Author: Stucki, Gerold1,2; Bickenbach, Jerome1,2; Kiekens, Carlotte3;
Organizations: 1Center for Rehabilitation in Global Health Systems, Department of Health Sciences and Medicine, University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland
2Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF), Nottwil, Switzerland
3Spinal Unit, Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute, Imola (BO), Italy
4Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, University “La Statale”, Milan, Italy
5IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy
6Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Foundation for Rehabilitation Information, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-12-13


On 2 December 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced key findings from the newly released “Global estimates of the need for rehabilitation based on the Global Burden of Disease study 2019” published in The Lancet (1), promoting the upcoming WHO Rehabilitation Need Estimator aligned with these global estimate data. Using data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (2), the estimates were based on the prevalence and years of life lived with disability (YLDs) of 25 diseases and impairments selected as amenable to rehabilitation. The Lancet paper presents the headline number that, globally, 2.41 billion individuals live with conditions who could benefit from rehabilitation. Musculoskeletal disorders contributed the most to this total, with a prevalence of 1.71 billion people. The Lancet paper discusses implications for the field of rehabilitation and for country-level rehabilitation priority-setting and decisions on programmes to address rehabilitation needs.

The objective of this paper is to put this milestone study of global estimates of rehabilitation need into an historical perspective, and, in particular, to reflect on its implications for the WHO’s broader agenda, “Rehabilitation 2030: A Call for Action”, and for Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine more generally. This paper also briefly elaborates the opportunities for the European Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (EARM) to contribute to the WHO’s Call for Action.

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EARM members

EARM members collaborating in this paper (in alphabetical order):

Jari Arokoski (University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland), Mercè Avellanet (Hospital Nostra Senyora de Meritxell, Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra), Kristian Borg (Karolinska Institutet, Danderyd University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden), Helena Burger (University Rehabilitation Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia), Maria Gabriella Ceravolo (“Politecnica delle Marche” University, Ancona, Italy), Joaquim Chaler (EUSES, Universitat de Girona-Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain), Anne Chamberlain (University of Leeds Faculty of Medicine, Leeds, UK), Richard Crevenna (Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria), Thierry Deltombe (CHU UCL Namur site Godinne, Yvoir, Belgium), Jean-Pierre Didier (Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France), Gabor Fazekas (National Institute for Medical Rehabilitation, Budapest, Hungary), Joan García Alsina (Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge. Barcelona, Spain), Christoph Gutenbrunner (Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany), Elena Ilieva (Medical University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria), Alvydas Juocevicius (Klaipeda University, Klaipeda, Lithuania), Jaro Karppinen (Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland), Jolanta Ewa Kujawa (Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland), Jorge Lains (Rehabilitation Medicine Center for the Central Region, Rovisco Pais, Tocha, Portugal), Antti Malmivaara (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland), Angela McNamara (National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dublin, Ireland), Xanthi Michail (University of West Attica, Athens, Greece), Rory J. O’Connor (University of Leeds, Leeds, UK), Jean Paysant (Regional Rehabilitation Institute, Nancy, France), Brigitte Perrouin-Verbe (University of Nantes, France), E. Diane Playford (University of Warwick, Coventry, UK), Konstantina Petropoulou (National Rehabilitation Center, Athens, Greece), Hans Rietman (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands), Cecilie Røe (Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway) Gilles Rode (Université de Lyon, Lyon, France), Bengt H. Sjölund (University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark), Britt-Marie Stålnacke (Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden), Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen (Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden), Guy Vanderstraeten (Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium), Anthony B. Ward (Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent, UK), Mauro Zampolini (USL Umbria 2, Foligno, Italy).

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Series: Journal of rehabilitation medicine
ISSN: 1650-1977
ISSN-E: 1651-2081
ISSN-L: 1650-1977
Volume: 522
Issue: 2
Article number: jrm00131
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2784
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Copyright information: © The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license.