Funded Research

Spinal Cord Injury Service Module Project

International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Project Manager: Professor James Middleton, University of Sydney, Australia

Project Officer: Dr Fiona Barr

Project Advisory Committee: James Middleton, Mohit Arora, Jerome Bickenbach, Christiana Cheng, John Chernesky, Julia Patrick Engkasan, Abderrazak Hajjioui, Nazirah Hasnan, Pauline Kleinitz, Stephen Muldoon, Vanessa Noonan, Colleen O’Connell, Farooq Azam Rathore, Peter Skeleton, Eric Weerts


The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Service Module Project stems from a call for action by the WHO in relation to its ‘Rehabilitation 2030’ initiative for strengthening leadership, planning and integrated development of health systems for rehabilitation globally.

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the WHO had supported over 15 countries to develop national rehabilitation strategic plans. It is envisaged that in the coming years many more countries will be supported through this process. Countries who have developed National Strategic Plans are now looking to address service-specific challenges and require tools and resources to support this process, particularly in the context of emerging rehabilitation services in lower-resource settings, where specificity and concreteness in required actions are pivotal for effective implementation.

The strengthening of services and increase in bed provision for people with complex conditions, such as SCI, is an area that has been prioritised within the National Strategic Plans of many countries.


The main objective of the SCI Service Module Project is to develop a practical resource (‘toolkit’) for SCI stakeholders in low- and middle-income countries that will be used to guide their efforts to strengthen SCI services in their country.

The SCI Service Module will cover key elements of service delivery, including resources and infrastructure, management, funding, distribution of services and access, SCI model of care, service standards, guidelines and protocols, workforce composition and competencies, education and training needs, user satisfaction, and research and collaboration.

The SCI Service Module will focus on rehabilitation, however, will examine this within the broader context of health care and systems exploring the full continuum of care, including pre-hospital, trauma and acute care, as well as community integration.

The resource will be designed so that it can be used as:

  • a standalone product at any point in time, or
  • a follow-up activity after a country has developed a national rehabilitation strategic plan utilising the WHO Rehabilitation in Health Systems: Guide for Action.

The project will support the development of new resources and incorporate/reference a wide range of existing resources and products belonging to ISCoS, WHO and other organisations, as appropriate.

The SCI Service Module Project is expected to be completed by end-2023.

The Spinal Research Institute is a co-funder of this project.

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