COLLABORATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
John L. Melvin, M.D. (Moss Rehab Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
If our efforts are successful, there will be an international organization composed of national societies of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialists, and of individual physicians regardless of specialty who have an interest in rehabilitation. Such an organization provides the potential for access to physicians to participate in international collaborative rehabilitation activities. However, such potential can be achieved only if this International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISOPRM) develops a mechanism for access to its physicians and their potential contributions. Until now, the international organizations of rehabilitation physicians have been most successful in holding periodic World Congresses, and less able to sustain other activities. This paper includes a number of suggestions designed to enable the ISOPRM to become a more active participant in future collaborative rehabilitation efforts.
Of most importance will be the development of a supportive structure which enhances communication, both between the ISOPRM and external organizations, and among its officers, committee members and members. This communication must be available continuously, channeled promptly to its intended addressees and productive of timely responses.
It will not be enough to have the mechanical support systems that facilitate communication. The ISOPRM will need to select its officers, committee members and other representatives on the basis of their commitment to contribute time regularly to the responsibilities they agree to assume. Enthusiasm for international activities must extend beyond the meetings at periodic Congresses if the ISOPRM is to contribute more broadly to the international rehabilitation community.
"REHABILITATION--A Cooperative Venture in the Twenty-First Century"
By: Susan B. Parker, Secretary General, Rehabilitation International
Rehabilitation involves the whole person. The field of rehabilitation practice now includes vigorous applications to stimulate improvement of the individual's physical and mental functioning. Such practice now applies successful medical and psychological rehabilitation models to the social and vocational life skills areas. The frequently referenced statistic that 10 percent of the world's five billion persons are disabled people will not decrease in the 21st century. WHO postulates that the numbers of disabled children will increase in developing countries by 40 percent between 1990 and 2025. Developed countries will see a 15 percent decrease for the same time period if present trends continue. Western developed countries now note that the expected mean age increase within their national populations will call for social programs aimed at older persons with disabilities. Thus, the demand for rehabilitation services will escalate. The call for rehabilitation services to meet, for example, the needs of a child who is psychologically traumatized by war, born with birth defects caused by industrial pollution, or unable to walk due to micro-nutrient deficiencies will compete for world resources with older persons experiencing disability due to the normal aging process. Our collective challenge is to alter existing aid patterns to accommodate the diverse calls for help through rehabilitation.
INTERNATIONAL REHABILITATION MEDICINE: COORDINATION & COOPERATION
Enrico Pupulin (World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland)
Rehabilitation as defined by the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities refers to a process aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to maintain their highest level of independence within their own society. There is a need to provide services as close as possible to where disabled people live. Rehabilitation includes a wide variety of multi-disciplinary, intersectoral role players, especially persons with disabilities who have to define their own rehabilitation needs. The traditional prescriptive medicine approach will have to realign with this process. Coordination of multidisciplinary expertise is needed in a collaborative milieu with other sectors, such as education, labour, social services and the environment, and in consultation with Disabled Peoples' Organizations.
Discussion of international rehabilitation starting with personal views of Dr. Howard A.
Rusk and the growth of rehabilitation across borders. Discussion would include the activities of the World Rehabilitation Fund in different parts of the world including my personal experiences in Asia and Europe.