WHO takes close look at social inclusion

November 27, 2017

ILEP’s Pim Kuipers reports back from the WHO Informal Consultation on Stopping Discrimination and Promoting Inclusion, held in New Delhi on 14-16 November.

The WHO Global Leprosy Programme hosted a strategic informal consultation on combating discrimination against persons affected by leprosy, which had strong representation from ILEP.  Representatives from NLR, SMHF, TLM, FairMed, GLRA, AIFO, Fontilles, as well as the ILEP Panel, the ITC and ILEP staff were in attendance.  It was clear from the three days of deliberations that ILEP has a strategic role to play at personal, local, organisational, national and global levels in the fight against discrimination.

We are all on the same page in the fight against discrimination!

It was very heartening for ILEP members to note that the key recommendations coming out of a landmark WHO consultation align strongly with the ILEP Inclusion Framework.  Over 40 delegates, including parliamentarians, officials of health ministries from a number of countries, persons affected by leprosy, leaders of a variety of NGOs, focal persons of leprosy programmes, WHO staff, and experts, all met in Delhi last week.

The recommendations arising from the consultation emphasised the centrality of the role of persons affected in this task, particularly when they can work together in groups and associations, to influence services, governments and society.  This is also the foundation of the ILEP Inclusion Framework.  The consultation focused strongly on the need to abolish discriminatory laws, which also aligns with the Inclusion Framework.

Gender issues were seen as important and the goal of ensuring inclusive access to services, was stressed – again these are key tenets of the ILEP Inclusion Framework.  The strategies which were highlighted as important, such as research, advocacy, partnerships, better data and tools for measuring discrimination, doing away with discriminatory terms/language and updating guidelines, showed that the delegates and ILEP members are very much on the same page.

The consistency between the consultation (which will inform the work of the WHO in coming years) and the ILEP Inclusion Framework (which is a key reference point for ILEP) is very heartening and augers well for international and multi-sectoral efforts to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion.

Members of the ILEP Panel of persons affected by leprosy (pictured here, including Mathias Duck, 2nd from right, and Amar Timalsina, far right) have played a key role in the landmark WHO consultation on discrimination hosted by the WHO Global Leprosy Programme. The ILEP Panel took key leadership roles, sharing their experience in combatting discrimination. They also contributed vital information on promoting inclusion, human rights and assisting people to move out of colonies. Also pictured are Dr. Tiffany Tiara Pakasi (left) and Mr. Ayub Khan (second from left), representatives from Indonesia.