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What we do and how we work

Priorities

We have determined 3 priorities:

  • Prevention and early detection of leprosy
  • Prevention of disabilities
  • Empowerment

All our activities within these priorities contribute to our vision ‘A world free of leprosy and exclusion due to disabilities’.

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Photography: Jan Joseph Stok

Prevention and early detection of leprosy

Our Technical Department has up-​to-​date knowledge on all aspects of leprosy, which is embedded in the programs we support.


We use this in-​depth knowledge of leprosy to advocate for access and quality of services, and in training, expert advice, research and innovation to promote prevention, early detection and treatment of leprosy. Read more about Early leprosy control


Prevention of disabilities

Our disability-​related work can be distinguished in:

  • Prevention. We aim to minimise the risk of leprosy-​related wounds, infections and complications, and to prevent these from resulting in permanent disabilities.
  • Rehabilitation. We facilitate access to assistive devices (e.g. special orthopaedic footwear, crutches, wheelchairs, prostheses) and other medical rehabilitation services (e.g. surgery, physical therapy) to promote recovery of function in damaged feet and hands.
  • Advocacy and the reduction of stigma. We promote acceptance and increased social participation of people with disabilities and commitment to equal opportunities and rights. People with leprosy-​related disabilities should have access to general rehabilitation facilities and organisations and to mainstream development programs.

Read more about Prevention of disabilities


Empowerment

We are expanding our focus on community-​based rehabilitation (CBR) as a strategy for inclusive development. We work together increasingly with non-​government organizations, community services organizations and disabled people’s organisations (DPO’s) in addition to supporting government health and social services.


Within DCDD (Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development) we will lobby with the Dutch Government and the UN to advocate for the rights and needs of people with disabilities that live in poverty. Read more about Empowerment


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Photography: Jan Joseph Stok

Research and innovation

Despite its long history, many questions regarding leprosy remain unanswered, regarding diagnosis of sub-​clinical leprosy, the way it affects people’s lives and the best ways to deal with the disease and its consequences. In addition, changes in health policies, new developments, etc. make continuous adaptations to leprosy services necessary. For these reasons, NLR considers research and innovation very important components of its work. NLR has a long track record in supporting and facilitating high-​quality scientific research both in state-​of-​the-​art laboratories in the Netherlands and abroad, and in field programs, communities affected by leprosy and leprosy treatment centres. In 2012, NLR was co-​founder of the Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI), a joint leprosy research fund supported by 8 partners and associate partners. The LRI makes available €1.5 million a year to research projects selected through a rigorous process of external and internal review.

NLR staff are also directly involved in designing, coordinating, leading or supporting research projects. They have considerable expertise in research design, data collection methods, analysis, scientific paper writing and research training. Recent research topics include prevention of disabilities, treatment of nerve damage, reduction of leprosy related stigma and prevention of leprosy through giving prophylactic treatment to contacts of new leprosy patients.


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We develop our policies and programmes in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), aiming to combat neglected tropical diseases and their consequences and to contribute to poverty reduction, promotion of human rights and social inclusion of persons affected by leprosy and persons with disabilities.




17 Sustainable Development Goals effective per January 1, 2016

  • The UN General Assembly adopted 17 SDGs replacing the MDGs, which have been in place since 2000. In 2015, Members of the NNN, including NLR, signed the Abu Dhabi Declaration supporting the SDG Global Indicator for NTDs.
  • They declared their full and unanimous support for a global indicator for NTDs for SDG 3.3: by 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-​borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

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