GENEVA - The Philippines joined the international community of member states, medical practitioners, therapists, NGOs, and the academe in raising the profile of rehabilitation and promoting increased investment into rehabilitation workforce and infrastructure.

The two-day symposium entitled Rehabilitation 2030: A Call to Action discussed the entire spectrum of rehabilitation including physical, occupation, early childhood intervention, and mental health rehabilitation.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle represented the Philippines in the symposium and took part in the panel discussion on the implementation in national plans of the WHO recommendations on rehabilitation.

In his presentation, Usec. Valle highlighted the DOH's thrusts to meet the needs of Filipinos with disabilities, particularly those in need of rehabilitation. The DOH launched its Z morph benefit under PhilHealth, which introduced case rates to cover orthopaedic cases which includes implants for hip arthroplasty, for hip fixation, pertrochanteric fracture, femoral shaft fracture, among others.

The Z-benefit package for Children with Disabilities is being developed with the goal of according benefits to those with hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility impairment, and, those who have developmental disabilities.

The Philippine Government's move towards providing support for people with rehabilitation needs is under its Universal Health Insurance. Based on the 2010 census, an estimated 1.51%, or 1.44 million of the Philippine population are "with disability."

The Department of Health is also strengthening the health system to accommodate people needing rehabilitation as only 11% of health facilities nationwide have the complete rehabilitation services such as Physical Therapy (PT) / Occupational Therapy (OT) / Speech Therapy.

Of all health facilities with rehabilitation services 72% can be accessed through privately-owned facilities, and only 28% are government owned facilities. This means that persons with disabilities (PWDs) requiring rehabilitation need to shell out an amount to cover certain expenses.

At the end of the symposium, Undersecretary Valle also highlighted the need for the WHO to scale up its work in countries that require assistance in drug rehabilitation. The Secretariat assured the Philippines of the WHO's readiness in providing support.

There is a substantial and ever-increasing unmet need for rehabilitation worldwide, which is particularly profound in low- and middle-income countries. The availability of accessible and affordable rehabilitation is necessary for many people with health conditions to remain as independent as possible, to participate in education, to be economically productive, and fulfil meaningful life roles. The magnitude and scope of unmet rehabilitation needs signals an urgent need for concerted and coordinated global action by all stakeholders. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs