On May 21, the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF system is designed to describe an individual's level of functioning and offers a framework for reflecting a population's health status, rather than focusing on morbidity and mortality. "The newly adopted ICF system will help identify psychologically relevant conditions and measure the functional outcomes of psychological treatments," says Jayne Lux, director of board operations in the APA Practice Directorate.
WHO officials reported that following the Health Assembly vote, country delegates expressed the need for implementation and training tools for the ICF system. Sparked by APA discussions with WHO more than two years ago, an interdisciplinary team has begun to develop the first draft (alpha version) of the Procedural Manual and Guide for a Standardized Application of the ICF. One of the goals of the manual is to provide a standard approach to classification, interpretations and operational definitions of terms employed by ICF for research and health service applications. The manual will be field tested in 2002.
The adopted resolution is posted on the WHO Web site, www.who.int.