The International Social Security Association (ISSA) has been stepping up its work on rehabilitation during the Triennium 2020-2022, and the new Special Working Group on Rehabilitation (SWGR) played a key role in this endeavour.
The multidisciplinary nature of rehabilitation – involving work injury, health care, employment support and sickness benefits – motivated the establishment of the special working group during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Based on a cross-sectoral approach – in coordination with the respective ISSA Technical Commissions – it offers a transversal platform for exchanges of good practices, promoting a holistic view of rehabilitation as an important pillar of social security.
The working group was set up for the 2020–2022 ISSA triennium. Dedicated to the sharing of best practices and innovation, it has contributed to the analysis Rehabilitation challenges in ageing societies: the need for a holistic approach, and its members presented their work in various ISSA events, in particular webinars and regional forums. In cooperation with the ISSA Secretariat, the SWGR set up the ISSA webinar series on rehabilitation, covering:
- Rehabilitation strategies post-COVID-19, with experts from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Belgium, Canada, Germany and the Republic of Korea.
- Rehabilitation and return to work policies, with experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and ISSA members from Belgium and Canada.
- Rehabilitation and return to work, with experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Belgium, Finland and the United States.
- Disability prevention and rehabilitation, with experts from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), Belgium, Germany, Jersey, Malaysia and the United States.
- Rehabilitation and post COVID-19 condition, with experts from Belgium, Chile and Germany.
- Digital innovation in rehabilitation responses with experts from the WHO, the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR), Germany and Malaysia.
The special working group has also contributed to the regional social security forums and will contribute to the World Social Security Forum 2022, featuring an interactive session on the need for holistic approaches and demonstrations on rehabilitation in the Innovation Zone
In addition, the project “COVID-19 and Long COVID-19 Syndrome”, which builds on two surveys, aims to improve knowledge, reflecting how social security institutions can contribute to address increased rehabilitation needs most effectively.
During the Triennium 2020-2022, the SWGR has demonstrated its importance also by joining the World Rehabilitation Alliance (WRA), and it received great interest of ISSA member institutions. Hence, the SWGR will continue its work in the ISSA triennium 2023–2025. It will contribute to several key events to make sure that international cooperation and the exchange of good practices to bring forward global efforts, national priorities and institutional practices on rehabilitation.