The 2nd Global Forum of People’s Organizations on Hansen’s Disease was held in Hyderabad, India from November 6 to 8, 2022. A total of 21 People’s Organizations from 16 countries and one international People’s Organization took part, with over 100 people attending each day. The theme of the forum was “Strengthening and maximizing the roles and capacities of People’s Organizations to promote the dignity of persons affected by Hansen’s disease.” There were sessions on Capacity Building, Inclusion, and Partnerships. The forum was organized by Sasakawa Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) Initiative as part of its “Don’t Forget Leprosy” / “Don’t Forget Hansen’s Disease” campaign launched during the coronavirus pandemic.
The impact of COVID-19 and measures against the disease, such as lockdowns and other restrictions, had a heavy impact on the lives of persons affected by leprosy/Hansen’s disease living in marginalized communities. The pandemic diverted attention from treatment and services for leprosy/Hansen’s disease to other areas. In some countries, the support provided by People’s Organizations, working with partner organizations, was a lifeline.
People’s Organizations recognize capacity building as essential to their sustainability and for them to realize their potential and enjoy their rights.
People’s Organizations recognize the importance of promoting inclusion, both within their own organizations and outside.
People’s Organizations recognize that strategic partnerships with diverse stakeholders can be an effective way for the vision of persons affected by leprosy/Hansen’s disease to be put into practice.
People’s Organizations request political, governmental, and non-governmental commitment for ensuring a minimum standard of living, economic security, and resources, including funding and human resources, for capacity building.
People’s Organizations recommend that inclusion of persons with lived experience of leprosy/Hansen’s disease should be equitable, demonstrated by their participation in consultative processes, strategy formulation, and implementation of strategies and policies that concern them.
People’s Organizations recommend that partnerships, including with government, are built in a collaborative, respectful, and trusted relationship for working towards their shared goals.
People’s Organizations acknowledge that digital technology is critical for their effective participation in their activities and therefore request that the digital divide be bridged.
People’s Organizations call on governments to provide adequate budgets and human resources so that national leprosy/Hansen’s disease programs can guarantee prevention, comprehensive care, and rehabilitation.
The 2nd Global Forum notes that many of the issues raised in the Conclusions and Recommendations from the 1st Global Forum in Manila in 2019 have yet to be adequately addressed. It urges governments and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to take all the necessary steps to implement the recommendations coming out from both Global Forums.
Advancing Leprosy and Disadvantaged Peoples Opportunities (ALO) Society
Movement for the Reintegration of Persons Affected by Hansen’s Disease (MORHAN)
Organisation des personnes affectées par la lèpre au Congo (OPALCO)
Ethiopian National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (ENAPAL)
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) Ghana
Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL)
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) India
Saarthak Maanav Kushtaashram (SMK)
PerMaTa South Sulawesi
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) Kenya
Myanmar Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (MAPAL)
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) Nepal
Rehabilitation, Empowerment and Development (READ) Nepal
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) Niger
Purple Heart Initiative Nigeria
Association Sénégalaise de Lutte Contre la Lèpre et les Maladies Tropicales Négligées (ASCL/MTN)
National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy (NAPAL) Sierra Leone
Tanzania Leprosy Association (TLA)
International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) International