Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit Director Dr. Abdul Bachani, with leadership from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-hosted the global launch of a new project with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen rehabilitation services in low- and middle-income countries on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

In the webinar event, Dr. Bachani welcomed more than 300 attendees from around the world to introduce the program, Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), which aims to improve the quality of life, functionality, and independence through simple interventions at the primary care level and the use of technology to bring rehabilitation closer to where affected individuals live.

"Today's event is not only an exciting milestone for the ReLAB-HS consortium and our partners, but I feel as though it also marks a significant leap forward for the fields of health systems and rehabilitation," said Dr. Bachani. "We all know and acknowledge that rehabilitation is integral to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and these services help people lead full and independent lives."

Following his introduction, Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie spoke to the School's commitment to critical health issues around the world and shared her excitement for the ReLAB-HS project.

"This groundbreaking effort will bring rehabilitation services to the forefront and find avenues for integration and health systems in low- and middle-income countries," said MacKenzie. "We recognize the remarkable work that all our partners are doing in the field and I'm also confident in the staunch leadership of Abdul and the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit that they bring to this project."

USAID Senior Technical Advisor for Rehabilitation Kirsten Lentz and Nossal Institute of Global Health Director Barbara McPake also spoke during the welcome session.

David H. Peters, the Edgar Berman Chair in International Health, moderated a session on the status of the field and opportunities in health systems and rehabilitation, before Rachael Lowe, co-founder and president of Physiopedia, led an introduction to the project and transitioned to a panel discussion featuring project partners from MiracleFeet, UCP Wheels for Humanity, and Humanity & Inclusion.

Nabeel Akram, ReLAB-HS Director of Operations and faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health concluded with closing remarks and a thank you to the entire consortium team and technical partners.

"This strategic investment of U.S. government through the ReLAB-HS project towards integration of AT-inclusive rehabilitation into the broader context of universal health coverage and health systems is, to my mind, simply groundbreaking," said Akram. "Thanks all for joining and participating. This is only the beginning."

The full video replay of the ReLAB-HS global launch is available here. To learn more about the project, please click here.