WHO Conducts National Assessment of Rehabilitation Services

The Government of Sri Lanka has a long established commitment to the provision of Rehabilitation services going back to the 1950’s when the first Sri Lanka physiotherapists and occupational therapists began working. More recently, the government supported rehabilitation through development of National Guidelines for Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka 2014-2018, and included it in the National Strategic Framework for the Development of Health Services 2016-2025.

While rehabilitation is firmly established within Sri Lanka’s health system there was a perceived need to assess the provision of rehabilitation services in the country and to see what areas might need strengthening and how they might better be integrated into the health system.

Striving to serve the country with better rehabilitation, in early 2018 the Youth, Elderly and Disability Directorate of the Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine (MOHNIM) requested WHO technical and financial support to undertake an assessment to identify areas of services that need strengthening and better integration. .

The assessment was conducted in two phases. A new WHO tool, the Systematic Assessment of Rehabilitation Situation (STARS) was used as the framework.

In the initial phase of the assessment, the STAR tool was used by the MOHNIM to collate data on the rehabilitation status of the country .

In October 2018, Ms Pauline Kleintz, Consultant, Global Rehabilitation Programme, WHO/HQ travelled to Sri Lanka to undertake the second phase of the process.

Ms Kleintz was joined by a team of rehabilitation experts to undertake an in-country assessment, including Ministry of Health and WHO Sri Lanka personnel.

The assessment included key informant interviews, focus group discussions, SWOT analysis at a consultative workshop and site visits to health and rehabilitation services. The team visited the hospitals and rehabilitation institutions in Galle, Badulla, Batticaloa, Ampara and Kandy.

The assessment was performed using the 57 components of the STARS tool and the draft report has now been shared with the MOHNIM and other stakeholders for feedback before being finalized.