ISPRM-WHO-Liaison Committee (ISPRM-WHO-LC)

Chair: Carlotte Kiekens

President’s Cabinet Liaison & WHO Focal Point: Walter Frontera

Secretary: Vanessa Seijas

Advisor: Christoph Gutenbrunner

Scope of the ISPRM-WHO-Liaison Committee

Since 1999 ISPRM has held an official relationship with the WHO as a non-State actor and collaborated with the Disability and Rehabilitation (DAR) team. This includes the participation of ISPRM in WHO meetings and collaboration in the network of WHO partners. As a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), ISPRM has to contribute substantially to WHO activities according to agreed and accepted collaboration plans.

The current collaboration plan (2018-2020) between WHO and ISPRM will contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal 3 (Health) focusing on persons with disabilities, and persons who have short- or long-term disabling health conditions. The collaboration plan will concentrate on the implementation and dissemination of WHO tools that contribute to the integration of rehabilitation in universal health coverage. The activities align with the 13th General Programme of Work, specially with achieving universal health coverage and promoting healthier populations. ISPRM will contribute, under WHO’s leadership and guidance, to achieving the goals of the “Rehabilitation 2030: A call for action”, the WHO Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021 and the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on improving access to assistive technology.

Committee structure

1. Strengthening rehabilitation working groups

The aim is to strengthen rehabilitation and the specialty of PRM across the world, and more in particular in low and middle income countries. Upon request from the WHO, these working groups provide support in implementing and in disseminating the Rehabilitation in Health systems – Guide for action. They will support the WHO in the development of a package of rehabilitation interventions  for health conditions.

Capacity building

The “Capacity building” working group will contribute to the implementation of the WHO Rehabilitation Support Packages. The goal is strengthening rehabilitation in low and middle income countries, mainly looking at the WHO building blocks ‘governance and leadership’ and ‘human resources’. This working group is active in the professional development of the rehabilitation workforce (mainly PRM) and the training of medical doctors in physical and rehabilitation medicine. Besides implementing measures, this working group also deals with conceptual models.

Chair: Wouter de Groote

Members: Hajjioui Abderrazak, Bhasker Amatya, Paolo Capodaglio, Leon Chandler, Rashidah Ismail, Nitin Jain, Amara Naicker, Didier Niama Natta, Abena Tannor, Brenda Saria Yuliawiratman, Manimalar Selvi Naicker

Rehabilitation in primary care

According to the WHO, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) requires providing health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. Strengthening of Health systems and more specifically strengthening of Primary Health Care (PHC), are the key strategies for achieving UHC. According to the Declaration of Astana in October 2018, strengthening PHC “is the most inclusive, effective and efficient approach to enhance people’s physical and mental health, as well as social well-being, and the cornerstone of a sustainable health system for UHC and health-related Sustainable Development Goals”.

The goal of this working group is to support the improvement of health rehabilitation services delivery within the PHC, considering that, according to the WHO, efforts must be made by stakeholders and partners to support the building of strong health systems and therefore a strong PHC, so rehabilitation services could be available to everyone, in the first level of care with adequate referral and counter-referral systems over the different levels and phases in the continuum of care.

Chair: Luz Helena Lugo Agudelo

Members: Carlos Alberto Quintero, Ana Maria Posada, Mario Alonso Giraldo, Vanessa Andreina Seijas

2. Standardized rehabilitation reporting subcommittees

ICF implementation

The ICF implementation subcommittee has been working on promoting ICF implementation in rehabilitation clinics. The present work includes promotion of the development of ICF clinical tools  and preparation for international data collection trials.

Chair: Masahiko Mukaino

Members: Julia Patrick Engkasan, Francesca Gimigliano, Aydan Oral, Gerold Stucki, Mauro Zampolini

Learning Health System for Spinal Cord Injury (LHS-SCI) – a joint effort of ISCoS and ISPRM

The Learning Health System for Spinal Cord Injury (LHS-SCI) is a joint effort of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) and ISPRM to implement the recommendations of the International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury (IPSCI). As a first step of the implementation process, the International Spinal Cord Injury (InSCI) Community Survey provides the epidemiological basis for the LHS-SCI. Further steps in this joint endeavor include stakeholder dialogs and policy briefs.

Chair: Julia Patrick (for ISPRM)

Co-chair: James Middleton (for ISCoS)

Chair scientific committee: Gerold Stucki

Senior advisors:  Jerome Bickenbach and Marcel Post

Coordinator: Christine Thyrian

International Classification of Service Organization in Rehabilitation (ICSO-R) working group of the ISPRM-WHO-Liaison Committee

Chair: Christoph Gutenbrunner

Members: Francesca Gimigliano, Carlotte Kiekens, Thorsten Meyer, Boya Nugraha

Scope: The organizational structure of rehabilitation services is important for health services planning as well as for benchmarking and quality management. There was no systematic approach providing a methodology to systematically describe and classify rehabilitation services. Based on a conceptual description of health-related rehabilitation services (Meyer at al. 2014), the working group developed a proposal for dimensions of a Classification of Service Organization in Rehabilitation (Gutenbrunner et al. 2015). After some preliminary testing a (Kiekens et al. 2017; Roe et al. 2017) a second version was proposed by the working group and discussed with an international panel of experts. This second version has been presented at International, European and Asia-Oceania Congresses and will be published soon.

Products & Publications:

Work plan:

Additional reference: Roe C, Kirkevold M, Andelic N, Soberg H, Sveen U, Bautz-Holter E, Jahnsen R, Van Walsem MR, Bragstad LK, Hjelle EG, Klecberg G, Oretorp P, Habberstad A, Hagfors J, Vaehle R, Engen G, Guten-brunner C: The challenges of describing rehabilitation services: a discussion paper. J Rehabil Med 2017. Doi: 10.2340/15601977-2299


Hannover, February 5, 2019

Christoph Gutenbrunner, MD, PhD, FRCP