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Global Need High for Rehabilitation Services

MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2020 -- Globally, 2.41 billion individuals were identified as having conditions that would benefit from rehabilitation in 2019, representing an increase of 63 percent from 1990, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in The Lancet.

Alarcos Cieza, Ph.D., from the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues estimated the need for rehabilitation using data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019 for 25 diseases, impairments, or bespoke aggregations of sequelae that were selected as amenable for rehabilitation.

In 2019, 2.41 billion individuals globally had conditions that would benefit from rehabilitation, contributing to 310 million years of life lived with disability (YLD). The researchers found that from 1990 to 2019, this number increased 63 percent. The highest need for rehabilitation services was seen in the Western Pacific region, with 610 million people and 83 million YLDs. Musculoskeletal disorders contributed most to prevalence (1.71 billion people); in 160 of 204 countries analyzed, the most prevalent condition was low back pain.

"This is the first study to our knowledge that has produced a global estimate of the need for rehabilitation services and shows that as many as one in three people could benefit from rehabilitation at least once during the course of their illness or injury," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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Posted: December 2020

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