Original Research

Provision and use of physical rehabilitation services for adults with disabilities in Rwanda: A descriptive study

Anne Kumurenzi, Julie Richardson, Lehana Thabane, Jeanne Kagwiza, Ines Musabyemariya, Jackie Bosch
African Journal of Disability | Vol 11 | a1004 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v11i0.1004 | © 2022 Anne Kumurenzi, Julie Richardson, Lehana Thabane, Jeanne Kagwiza, Ines Musabyemariya, Jackie Bosch | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 December 2021 | Published: 30 August 2022

About the author(s)

Anne Kumurenzi, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; and Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
Julie Richardson, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Lehana Thabane, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; and Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Jeanne Kagwiza, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
Ines Musabyemariya, Functional Rehabilitation Programme, Humanity and Inclusion, Kigali, Rwanda
Jackie Bosch, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada; and Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada


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Abstract

Background: Physical rehabilitation interventions address functional deficits caused by impairments that affect someone’s performance. Whilst rehabilitation is important, it is assumed that these services are either minimal or nonexistent in low-resource settings. Our data expand on the data from the Situation Assessment of Rehabilitation in the Republic of Rwanda report to describe rehabilitation services and who access them at public and semiprivate facilities (primarily funded by the private sector).

Objectives: This article describes the use of the outpatient physical rehabilitation services across nine health facilities, the characteristics of adults attending these health facilities and some of the facilitators and barriers they encounter when attending rehabilitation.

Method: Data were collected between September and December 2018 from the heads of departments and adult patients attending outpatient rehabilitation services funded by the government, international nongovernmental organisations or faith-based organisations.

Results: Two hundred and thirteen adults were recruited from nine facilities. There is a sixfold difference in the number of rehabilitation personnel between public and semiprivate hospitals in these facilities’ catchment areas. However, most participants were recruited at public facilities (186 [87%]), primarily with physical disorders. Patients reported that family support (94%) was the most crucial facilitator for attending rehabilitation, whilst transportation cost (96%) was a significant barrier.

Conclusion: Rehabilitation service availability for Rwandan adults with disabilities is limited. Whilst family support helps patients attend rehabilitation, transportation costs remain a significant barrier to people attending rehabilitation. Strategies to address these issues include developing triage protocols, training community health workers and families.

Contribution: Data on rehabilitation service provision in Rwanda and most African countries are either non-existent or very limited. These data contain important information regarding the services provided and the people who used them across different health facilities (public versus private) and urban versus rural settings). To improve rehabilitation service provision, we first need to understand the current situation. These data are an important step to better understanding rehabilitation in Rwanda.


Keywords

adults; disabilities; physical rehabilitation; outpatient services; health facilities; descriptive study; Rwanda

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