Appointment to WHO Expert Group on Health-related Rehabilitation Guidelines

12 July 2012

Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Disability Research and Policy has been appointed as an expert member of the World Health Organization Group for the development of the WHO Health-related Rehabilitation Guidelines.

Anticipated to be released by WHO in 2014, the proposed guidelines are intended to support the implementation of the rehabilitation aspects of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to serve as a bridge between the recent World report on disability (WHO 2011) and the Community-Based Rehabilitation Guidelines (WHO 2010).They will provide guidance to governments and others on how to develop, expand and improve the quality of rehabilitation services in less resourced settings in line with the World report on disability.

The World report on disability, released by WHO and the World Bank in 2011, indicates that approximately 1 billion people or 15% of the world's population has a disability, of which 110-190 million adults experience very significant difficulties in functioning. This number is expected to increase due to global population ageing and the rise in chronic diseases together with other environmental factors such as road accidents, natural disasters and conflict.

Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn
Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn

Evidence suggests that difficulties in functioning related to ageing and many health conditions can be reduced and quality of life improved with rehabilitation. Lack of access to rehabilitation services can increase the effects and consequences of disease or injury; delay discharge; limit activities; restrict participation; cause deterioration in health; decrease quality of life and increase use of rehabilitation services. (WHO, 2011)

Professor Llewellyn is an international leading authority on family and disability and brings to the group extensive experience in health-related rehabilitation including community-based rehabilitation.