Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Large-scale access to health services in a low-income country

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) MoveAbility Foundation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, supports sustainable, accessible, quality physical rehabilitation services, and promotes inclusion in low- and middle-income countries. The ICRC created the MoveAbility Foundation in 1983 (formerly the Special Fund for the Disabled) and provides administrative, logistical, and technical support. In 2015 the foundation initiated a project in Togo by working with a national school and a service provider to reinforce rehabilitation services for people with disabilities and by offering management training (Senior Leadership and Governance SLP) and the Essential Management Package (EMP) – a course designed to train and support managers of physical rehabilitation centres.

“Being part of the national platform with the various stakeholders involved is a real opportunity for change and for the greater inclusion of people with disabilities in society. ”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Large-scale access to health services in a low-income Country
Organisation:International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), MoveAbility Foundation
of Implementation


Services provided

  • In 2015, 5,786 persons with disabilities received devices and Services
  • In 2016, 9,800 persons with disabilities received devices and services

Management training:

  • In 2015, 5 participants to the 14-month SLP training (incl. 3 one-week residential training)
  • In 2016, 6 participants to the 6 months EMP


The standards of physical rehabilitation services in Togo are very low due to the lack of skilled personnel and of coordinated mechanisms among national authorities, service providers, civil society, and people with disabilities.


In order to develop organizational sustainability of the physical rehabilitation centres it is necessary to strengthen the management systems, as well as to develop staff competency and commitment. The EMP offers a process for managers, working with their actual work teams, to learn leadership and managing practices that make it possible to face challenges and achieve measurable results. The coursework includes management and leadership training adapted to the health and disability services environment, the introduction of standardized operational procedures and protocols, and financial sustainability planning.
Through SLP training, the ICRC, the local Management Science for Health organization, and the foundation 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 create a platform for information exchange and cooperation. As a result, the MoH substantially increased its financial contribution to support this project; 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.Sovon, an amputee standing with a prosthetic leg


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.
The national platform is now being extended to other countries in Africa, and has been proposed in all cooperation agreements with the concerned ministries of the countries in which MoveAbility operates. Currently, it is being implemented in Tanzania and Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire has expressed an interest in developing such a platform as well.
The financial investment of the MoveAbility Foundation was 434,000 Euro in 2016 and 670,000 Euro in 2017, of which 21,000 Euro in 2016 and 30,000 in 2017 were used to back-up platform activities.. The advocacy work done by the platform has subsequently been translated in an increased contribution from the government of 20,000 Euro in 2016 and 70,000 Euro in 2017.

Michaela Björk


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