Community-based rehab for disabilities works even in areas of conflict

A community-based rehabilitation program (CBR) may be an effective way to provide services to people with disabilities even in places with conflict, such as Afghanistan, finds a new study from the Brown School and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.


The paper, “Access to Services from Persons with Disabilities in Afghanistan: Is Community Based Rehabilitation Making a Difference?” was published in May in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Jean-Francois Trani, associate professor at the Brown School, was corresponding author and Parul Bakhshi, assistant professor of occupational therapy at the School of Medicine, was senior author. 

CBR programs aim to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services involving educational, social, economic and medical interventions for people with disabilities. 

The study aimed to determine if a large-scale CBR program would improve access to multiple services, including physical therapy, assistive technology, education, employment, advocacy and community awareness.

Researchers enrolled in the study 1,861 newly recruited CBR participants with disabilities from 169 Afghan villages between July 2012 and December 2013. The CBR participants and controls were followed from 2012 until 2015 and interviewed three times. They found that needs were more often met among the CBR participants compared with the control set.