The national platform for the physical rehabilitation sector was rewarded as an innovative practice by the Zero Project Conference 2018 in Vienna on the 22nd of February. The national platform is a space for discussions and advocacy for all the actors involved in disability issues towards the authorities on a set of priorities to answer the needs of persons with disabilities.
The Zero Project, an initiative of the Essl Foundation, focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally. It provides a platform where the most innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face, are shared. Its sole objective is to assist in creating a world without barriers.
An innovative tool
The national platform is a multi-sectoral hub allowing the national authorities, rehabilitation centers, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, Disabled People’s Organizations and civil society actors to meet and discuss concrete needs of persons with disabilities. Among the topics of the platform’s discussions: the adoption of a national strategic plan, the increase of allocations for the sector, the improvement of access and quality of services or the promotion of a social protection system.
In Togo, where the platform was implemented in 2015, it brought together the Ministry of Health (MoH), the director of a rehabilitation reference centre, a senior staff member of the Togolese Red Cross, and disabled peoples organizations to discuss concrete actions.
As a result, the MoH substantially increased its financial contribution to the rehabilitation center; and since then the number of services provided to people with disabilities has increased significantly.
In 2016, some 9,800 people with disabilities received necessary rehabilitation services. Members of the platform continue to meet and to influence decision makers, and for the first time in Togo the physical rehabilitation actors and civil society are directly consulted on social policy. Platform members also raise issues of disability and place them on the political agenda. The MoH is currently working on a revision of the national social and protection policy to improve services for persons with disabilities.
For an innovation to be considered as such and have a real impact, it must be implementable and replicable. The national platform has been set up with concrete results in Togo, but also in Tanzania. The platform has been a great success, integrating physical rehabilitation into the national strategic plan. In addition, the platform is being implemented in Zambia and Benin.
For more information on the awarded innovation.