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President’s Message


President’s Message for March 2014

Even though it is still early in the year the WFOT has already been busy with lots of activity already occurring.

World Health Organisation

In January 2014, Samantha Shann, WFOT Vice President Finance, and I attended the 134th Meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Attendance at this meeting raises the profile of the WFOT especially when able to address the Executive Board directly with our written Statements. It also allows the WFOT to keep abreast of key forthcoming agenda items for the General Health Assembly and proposed action plans. Most importantly it is instructive on the operations of WHO governance.

Following  the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly (May 2013) the Health Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the World Report on Disability, and requested the Director-General to prepare, in consultation with other organizations of the United Nations system and Member States, a comprehensive action plan based on the evidence in the report, and in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the outcome document of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on disability and development.  Drafts of the document have been developed through wide consultation with relevant key stakeholders including NGO’s.; the WFOT submitted   comments during the consultation.

The overall goal of the WHO ‘Draft Global Action Plan on Disability 2014–2021: Better health for all people with disabilities’ is to contribute to achieving optimal health, functioning, well-being and human rights for all persons with disabilities. The action plan has the following three objectives:

(1) to remove barriers and improve access to health services and programmes;

(2) to strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habilitation, assistive technology, assistance and support services, and community-based rehabilitation;

(3) to strengthen collection of relevant and internationally comparable data on disability and support research on disability and related services.

The plan supports a fully multi-sectoral approach involving all major players from government to Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), carers and people with disabilities: Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is proposed as an effective mechanism to facilitate multi-sectoral collaboration.

The WFOT President delivered WFOT’s statement to the Executive Board supporting the draft Action Plan on Disability, see: . The key action is for WFOT to ensure our member organisations are aware of the Action Plan’s progress and adoption when completed. We look to the member organisations to report on their interactions with national governments to promote it and be involved.

The WFOT’s collaboration with WHO continues to build on the official relations established over 60 years ago, and is a key focus in the future strategic plan for the WFOT. Inherent within this, occupational therapy continues to confirm its place as a key profession in the promotion of the health and well-being of our citizens and communities. These meetings with the WHO, and other international health care organisations, confirm the importance of the role that occupational therapy continues to contribute to the health care agenda.  The WFOT just received confirmation from WHO of continued collaboration for 2013-2015.  This status is granted only after a review of the submitting NGO's accomplishments on their 3 year work plan. 

Congress 2014

Congress 2014 is fast approaching, and we are looking forward to welcoming occupational therapists from around the world.

The WFOT Congress 2014 Programme features contributions from over 60 countries:
*    WFOT Inaugural Lecture
*    1 WFOT Business Meeting
*    3 Keynote Lectures
*    3 Symposia
*    8 Special Sessions
*    55 In-congress Workshops
*    Over 1,000 Oral Presentations in 16 Concurrent Streams
*    Over 1,500 Poster Presentations throughout 4 days.

Not only that!  We have Education Day (June 16), Pre-congress Workshops (June 17) and a Symposium for the Public (June 21) and Clinical Visits (18 – 20 June 2014).

There will also be many more professional development and networking opportunities. The Exhibition at this congress will provide opportunities for Delegates to explore a range of international products and services to support and enhance your delivery of occupational therapy services. Come and meet the WFOT Executive Management Team members in person.

This extensive programme will serve to engage Congress delegates in academic, cultural, professional and personal exchanges. It is pleasing to see the involvement of occupational therapy students in the programme as students hold the key to the future and ongoing impact of the profession.

The WFOT has an inclusive approach to our international events. For many years, a Grants/Donations programme has been integral to the WFOT Congress, whereby colleagues can make donations to fund and host congress participants who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend and present at Congress.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts for Congress 2010 in Chile, 24 delegates received grant funding to attend this Congress. These delegates benefitted greatly from the generous contributions to the Congress Grants Programme. Let’s enable more colleagues to participate in Yokohama!  Full details of the Congress 2014 Donations programme is available at

I encourage you to register NOW for WFOT Congress 2014. The EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION will close on 14th April 2014.

Please go to the Congress 2014 website at for further information.

I look forward to meeting you at Congress 2014 in Yokohama, Japan


E Sharon Brintnell

March 2014

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