World Health Organization global disability action plan 2014-2021: Challenges and perspectives for physical medicine and rehabilitation in Pakistan

Fary Khan, Bhasker Amatya, Tahir M. Sayed, Aamir W. Butt, Khalid Jamil, Waseem Iqbal, Alaeldin Elmalik, Farooq A. Rathore, Geoff Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To provide an update on disability and outline potential barriers and facilitators for implementation of the World Health Organization Global Disability Action Plan (GDAP) in Pakistan. Methods: A 6-day workshop at the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Islamabad facilitated by rehabilitation staff from Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia. Local healthcare professionals (n = 33) from medical rehabilitation facilities identified challenges in service provision, education and attitudes/approaches to people with disabilities, using consensus agreement for objectives listed in the GDAP. Results: Respondents agreed on the following challenges in implementing the GDAP: shortage of skilled work-force, fragmented healthcare system, poor coordination between acute and subacute healthcare sectors, limited health services infrastructure and funding, lack of disability data, poor legislation, lack of guidelines and accreditation standards, limited awareness/knowledge of disability, socio-cultural perceptions and geo-topographical issues. The main facilitators included: need for governing/leadership bodies, engagement of healthcare professionals and institutions using a multi-sectoral approach, new partnerships and strategic collaboration, provision of financial and technical assistance, future policy direction, research and development. Conclusion: The barriers to implementing the GDAP identified here highlight the emerging priorities and challenges in the development of rehabilitation medicine and GDAP implementation in a developing country. The GDAP summary actions were useful planning tools to improve access and strengthen rehabilitation services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Disability
  • Pakistan
  • Rehabilitation
  • World Health Organization

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