The first Global Forum of People’s Organizations on Hansen’s Disease

At the first Global Forum of People’s Organizations on Hansen’s Disease, which took place from 7-10 September 2019 in Manila, leprosy affected participants had the chance to exchange opinions, ideas and experiences along with strategies on entrepreneurship models to attain sustainability. 

Organised by the Sasakawa Health Foundation and the Nippon Foundation, the forum endeavoured to bring together representatives from organisations of persons affected by Hansen’s disease with major stakeholders as observers before the 20th International Leprosy Congress. About 60 members of people’s organisations from 23 different countries participated along with more than 20 stakeholders from various backgrounds.

The purpose of the event was to provide training to build organisational sustainability and capacity of People’s Organizations, and to promote networking among participants. Takahiro Nanri, executive director of SHF, said to IPS reporter Stella Paul that the free flow of ideas and experience sharing among the participants would help to lead the future course of action to eliminate leprosy.

One of the main outcomes of the assembly was a demand to adopt a higher level of respect and make leprosy affected people central to any policy decisions being made.

Recommendations included that those affected by the disease should have a more inclusive role in the global campaign against leprosy. The recommendations made by the participants of the Forum were declared to global academics, scientists, researchers, health staff and partners during the opening session of the ILC and can be found here: https://www.shf.or.jp/information/6813?lang=en.