The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced a new award in Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS) to the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, financed by the Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF). This five-year project, worth as much as $39.5 million (subject to the availability of funds), is the largest in the history of the LWVF.
ReLab-HS will drive significant change in the physical-rehabilitation sector through enhanced and innovative service-delivery models, workforce capacity-building, and extensive data and research capabilities. The program will help ensure that millions of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), especially those that are emerging from conflict, have access to high-quality sustainable services that are responsive to the growing need for physical rehabilitation.
Since 1989, through approximately $300 million in Congressional appropriations to the LWVF, USAID has responded to the growing needs for physical rehabilitation and assistive technology (AT) worldwide in more than 50 countries.
An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide need physical-rehabilitation services, including appropriate AT, to improve their quality of life. However, in LMICs, more than 80 percent of those in need of physical rehabilitation and AT do not have access to them. This number will rise as populations age, conflict and traffic accidents continue to injure civilians, non-communicable diseases increase, and COVID-19 changes daily life.
ReLAB-HS is a consortium of international partners with extensive expertise in health networks, implementation science, innovation in service-delivery, and training workers in physical rehabilitation and AT in more than 70 countries worldwide. Activities will target the development and integration of physical rehabilitation and AT into public and private health networks, through augmenting national governance and financing capacities, training health-care providers, and increasing access to essential care and services and innovative technologies.