WHO Rehabilitation Need Estimator

Updated January 14, 2021

Analyze estimates of the world’s need for rehabilitation services from 1990 to 2019 in this interactive tool. Use maps, line plots, and bar graphs to explore global, regional, and country data on the number of people who would benefit from rehabilitation at least once during the course of their disabling disease or injury based on the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019. The estimates include prevalence and years lived with disability (YLDs) of 25 diseases, impairments, or bespoke aggregations of sequelae that were selected as amenable to rehabilitation. Use this tool to compare various conditions and to explore patterns and trends by country, age, and sex.

Watch a tutorial on how to use the tool


How are data collected?

The data that have been used to develop the WHO Rehabilitation Needs Indicator have been drawn from the 2019 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD), which is the single largest and most detailed scientific effort ever conducted to quantify levels and trends in health. Led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, it is a global effort, with over 3,600 researchers from more than 145 countries participating in data collection.

This is the first study to produce global, regional and country estimates of the need for rehabilitation services. The tool provides data for the 204 countries included in the GBD 2019 study, which are further aggregated to seven regions: World Bank high-income countries and all six of the WHO regions, excluding the high-income countries from each region.

The data sources used in GBD take many forms, for example:

  • Censuses
  • Vital registrations
  • Disease registries
  • Surveys
  • Scientific literature, etc.

More information can be found here.

How are the conditions in need of rehabilitation selected?

For the selection of health conditions, a stepwise approach was followed.

First, the 20 conditions with the highest number of associated YLDs were identified. Second, from these, the conditions for which rehabilitation is not essential and is usually indicated as a secondary intervention (eg, dietary iron deficiency or oral disorders) were excluded. Third, a group of experts in the field of rehabilitation was convened by WHO to discuss the current list and add any health conditions for which rehabilitation is a key intervention as part of an overall management plan. 25 health conditions were selected for the final analysis. The 25 selected conditions are grouped and presented into seven aggregate disease and injury categories, following the GBD standard categorization of diseases.

What analyses are applied in calculating the need for rehabilitation?

Full description of the methodology and statistical analyses applied in the study can be found in the original Lancet publication.

How can data be interpreted?

Rehabilitation needs estimates have been based on prevalence estimates showing the number or percentage of people who experience a health condition over the course of their life that would benefit from rehabilitation. Data can be further disaggregated by sex and age groups. Changes in the prevalence of health conditions can be explained by epidemiological and demographic transitions, such as increases in the population, increased aging of the population, or the effect of different environmental or lifestyle factors.

The data also show the years lived with disability (YLD) associated with different health conditions. The tool also provides an option to look into the trends in prevalence of years lived with disability (YLD) since 1990.


  • Prevalent cases: The number of people in a specific location who experience a health condition over the course of their life that would benefit from rehabilitation.
  • Years Lived with Disability (YLDs): YLDs measure the amount of time people lose to diseases and injuries that degrade health but do not cause death. It is calculated by multiplying a disability’s severity by the time it lasts. This means that a short-term, severe health problem and a long-term, relatively mild health problem could both result in the same number of YLDs. For example, someone who needs two months to recover from a car accident but then regains their full health and someone who experiences relatively mild but lifelong back pain could end up losing the same number of years of their lives to disability. YLDs take into account all disabilities, including lower-visibility ones that result in daily pain, lost work time, or an inability for someone to thrive as they otherwise might.
  • Prevalent cases per 100k: A rate per 100k shows in a single country-year-age-sex, the number of cases due to cause X divided by the population.
  • YLDs per 100k: YLDs per 100k shows the number of YLDs due to cause X by 100k population.

For more information, please check the original Lancet publication.

Open data visual


Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). WHO Rehabilitation Need Estimator. Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington, 2021. Available from https://vizhub.healthdata.org/rehabilitation/. (Accessed [INSERT DATE])

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