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Original Research

Adaptation of the global frameworks for community based rehabilitation in southern Africa: a proof of concept

Submitted: 8 September 2015
Revised: 6 May 2016
Accepted: 26 April 2017
Published: 22 August 2017

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Author(s) : M'kumbuzi VRP, Myezwa H.

Vyvienne M'kumbuziHellen Myezwa

Citation: M'kumbuzi VRP, Myezwa H.  Adaptation of the global frameworks for community based rehabilitation in southern Africa: a proof of concept. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 3717. Available: (Accessed 25 September 2017)


Introduction:  Community based rehabilitation (CBR) has evolved over the last 30 years and now focuses on empowering persons with disabilities to access and benefit from a wide range of services. The essence and ethos of CBR is captured in several global frameworks, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (2006) and the CBR guidelines (2010). The latter contains the CBR matrix. All 15 countries in southern Africa are implementing CBR mostly in rural areas, but the policy framework to guide CBR in the region is unknown. The purpose of the study was to determine to what extent countries in southern Africa have adapted the global frameworks available for CBR.
Methods:  A CBR policy analysis using proof-of-concept methodology was undertaken. Policy documents on CBR were sought from relevant government departments or agencies. Multiple methods and media, including web searches, searches for grey literature, social media and contact through an elaborate network of colleagues working in the region, were employed to execute the search strategy. Data were organized using NVivo software, and three independent raters coded the emergent themes using the CBR matrix.
Results:  Only Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have specific policy content for CBR. These, however, lacked structure; the content was predominantly aligned to health. Inclusion of key international concepts such as mainstreaming and empowerment were superfluous when present.
Conclusions:  The CBR policy environment in southern Africa appears inadequate. Contingent factors that preclude adaptation of the global frameworks available for CBR appear to be at play. These warrant further investigation.

Key words: CBR strategy and guidelines, community based rehabilitation, policy, proof of concept, southern Africa.

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