With a total population of around 27 million, Nepal is one of the world’s most underdeveloped countries (by UNDP it is ranked 157 in the Human Development Index). The condition of the health services in Nepal are reflecting this underprivileged position.
New leprosy cases are still being found in the country (over 11 to every 100,000 of population). The usual consequences follow for those affected: loss of sensation in hands and feet, impairments, disabilities, social stigma en exclusion from society. To address these issues, NLR invests strongly in an inclusive, barrier free and rights based society contributing to sustainable development in Nepal through its priority intervention areas of general disabilities and disease control. Our rights-based approach is making tremendous changes in the lives of thousands of persons with disabilities, including those with disabilities due to leprosy, and in the lives of their families as well.
NLR Nepal Office
NLR is well positioned in the country, with a Country Representative Office in Kathmandu and two field offices in rural and remote areas. One field office is in the Eastern Region of Nepal (in Biratnagar) and the other field office is in the Far Western Region (in Dhangadhi). The field programmes of these offices directly cover 25 out of 75 districts in Nepal. A professional team with experienced, motivated and specialized staff is responsible for the planning and monitoring of the projects. They also provide indispensable technical and managerial support to the disability and disease control program for Leprosy and TB at national, districts & village levels.
NLR is operating in Nepal since 1977. The initial focus was on the construction of health facilities and the implementation of leprosy control activities. Since 1986, though, NLR has worked not only on leprosy control but increasingly on community based rehabilitation, while maintaining a focus on persons with disabilities due to leprosy.
Since 2005 NLR has broadened its support even further to general disabilities regardless of causes. The principles from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are strongly guiding us in our work in Nepal. Key elements of our work are human rights, inclusion and inclusive education as well as social participation with the provision of quality services and livelihood schemes.
NLR disease control activities are carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population at several levels. NLR maintains a strong partnership with the Leprosy Control Division of the Ministry. In the field of disabilities, NLR is cooperating with various strong partners, such as the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN), the Social Welfare Council of Nepal (SWCN) and other line ministries as well as its member organizations, Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), and various CBR organizations in Nepal. NLR is a member of the Association of International NGOs and an active member of the Nepal Leprosy Network.
Over the years, NLR has helped to create a strong network of governmental, non-governmental, civil society organizations and disprivileged communities, especially in the field of general disability and disease control. This important bridging position among different sectors in the society will remain our strength in the future. A strength that will help us to create inclusive societies where discrimination is not tolerated by any means (e.g. gender, caste & ethnicity, disease, disabilities etc.) with the entertainment of equal rights & equal opportunities for all.