Background: Internationally, inclusion of physical rehabilitation services during early disaster response is relatively new. The aim of the study was to gain an understanding of disaster relief physical rehabilitation in Iran.
Methods: A qualitative study design was employed and sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted for data collection. Content analysis was used for data analysis. The participants in this study were purposively selected among people who experienced the Bam (2003) and Varzaghan (2012) earthquakes.
Results: Three main themes were explored including: indispensable intervention, barriers to continuous intervention and opportunities for intervention. Almost all participants reiterated the importance of effective physical rehabilitation services during disasters. Some participants mentioned significant barriers for delivering such services in the context of Iran. The lack of an effective responsible body, weak disaster-related competencies and under-prioritization by government were among other barriers. On a more positive note, some interviewees talked about national programs that could facilitate service delivery.
Conclusions: Providing disaster relief physical rehabilitation has faced many barriers in Iran. However, there are some facilitators in the country that could help provide these services. Finally, the feasibility of post-disaster physical rehabilitation services delivery completely depends on the current national rehabilitation system.
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