New Resource: Rehabilitation in Health Financing

Opportunities on the Way to Universal Health Coverage

Health financing is a core pillar of health systems and encompasses the three functions of how revenues for health are collected, pooled, and paid to providers of health care services. It can be leveraged to pursue key Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals of enhancing access, ensuring quality, and financial protection against catastrophic or impoverishing out-of-pocket expenditure ([i]). However, knowledge of how health financing practices can promote the delivery of rehabilitation services is limited.

Rehabilitation is an essential health service and necessary for the achievement of UHC. It addresses the impact of a health condition on a person’s life by enhancing their daily functioning and reducing disability. It benefits people with a wide range of health conditions through all stages of life and during all phases of acute, subacute, and long-term care. But access to rehabilitation services is limited, and profound unmet needs exist, especially in low- and middle-income countries where rehabilitation is commonly inadequately funded and overlooked during health planning and prioritization. Rehabilitation is also often managed and funded separately from key health financing mechanisms, omitted from essential health service packages ([ii]), donor-dependent, and associated with high out-of-pocket costs for service users. 

In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator developed a resource on health financing for rehabilitation. It considers current practices for financing rehabilitation services, frames major challenges and opportunities, and offers guidance to decision-makers engaged in strengthening rehabilitation within health systems. The resource draws on a review of the evidence and practices regarding rehabilitation in health financing along the continuum of health financing functions:

The resource aims to equip health financing and rehabilitation stakeholders with information, guidance, and lessons from country experiences that will aid in decision-making related to financing rehabilitation services. The first WHO resource on this topic, it will be part of a suite of resources to strengthen health systems and support provision of rehabilitation services, in line with Rehabilitation 2030 and its Call for Action.

A look inside the resource

[i].    Kutzin J, Witter S, Jowett M, Bayarsaikhan D. Developing a national health financing strategy: a reference guide. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017. (Health Financing Guidance, No. 3;, accessed 2 May 2023).
[ii].   Chikhradze T, Brainerd EL, Ishtiaq A, Alperson R. How to become a strategic purchaser of rehabilitation services. Bull World Health Organ. 2022;100(11):709–16. doi:10.2471/BLT.21.287499.