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Indonesia is a large middle-​income country and has grown rapidly in recent years and living standards are improving. The proportion of people living in poverty fell by half, from 24% in 1999 to 12% in 2012. Yet Indonesia’s growth has been uneven and the gap between rich and poor is growing. Recent reports indicate that 25% of the population (16 million people) live on less than USD 2 per day. Indonesia is the number 3 in the world if it comes to new leprosy cases. Over the last 10 years, the number of new cases has remained rather stable at around 16,000. Of concern is an increasing trend in leprosy in children, indicating that leprosy is not under control in Indonesia.

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Photography: Budi Yuwono

Innovative projects

NLR supports the Ministry of Health’s program on leprosy financially and technically in 19 provinces in Indonesia. NLR is still playing an important role in training health staff on different levels on leprosy. In 2015 5,916 persons were trained, including district and provincial health coordinators, medical doctors and dermatologists, health centre staff and volunteers. Besides, NLR Indonesia is carrying out a number of innovative projects which serve as model projects to be replicated by the Ministry of Health. Indonesia has been a frontrunner for the implementation of the pilots on chemoprophylaxis, carried out in 5 different locations and serving as a model for similar projects in the rest of the world. Indonesia was also one of the countries who started to support self-​care groups, and learnings were distributed and used in other countries.


In 2015 NLR Indonesia supported 47 self-​care groups directly and another 73 groups through other local organizations. NLR Indonesia is supporting 4 Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and 3 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to work on the full participation of people affected by leprosy and persons with disabilities in society. An example of the work of one of these DPOs is DSM Tegal. This DPO established a forum where different stakeholders, including government departments, discuss how they can together support persons affected by leprosy or other disabilities. As a result, several government buildings and other public facilities were made accessible in 2015.

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Photography: Sasja van Vechgel



Project description

LPEP Project The chemoprophylaxis pilot project started in Indonesia in 2012. After that NLR Indonesia continued supporting the pilot chemoprophylaxis and also the LPEP project. In 2015, the chemoprophylaxis activities was mostly funded by local government and central government (drug). NLR only provides support for monitoring and technical support. The LPEP activities is totally funded by Novartis. The results and lessons learnt from all of this exercise has been discussed in National Expert Committee meeting on June 2015 and the draft of national chemoprophylaxis guideline has been develop and now awaiting the further steps from the Ministry of Health for scaling up this approach.
Urban Leprosy Project In order to implement and improve the leprosy services in urban areas, NLR Indonesia has supported the pilot urban leprosy approach in Surabaya and Manado. This support is mainly to activities that is related to urban situation (such as: the involvement of private/​family doctor, hospital, pharmacy in case finding and special activities in slum area and mobile worker), monitoring and technical guidance. Whereas the routine activities is funded by local government. In 2015, an evaluation meeting was done in Surabaya. Lessons learnt need to be shared to other endemic cities.
Leprosy Friendly Village Project NLR has supported continuously 15 endemic village for leprosy friendly village activities in North Minahasa since 2012 to improve case finding method which is more involving community and health staff. The result is very positive. The number of new case increase significantly 34 times, the disability grade 2 reduce (none in 2015) the participation of health staff and potential group in community increase. Other positive aspect is district government has committed to fund around 50 endemic village since 2013. This innovative approach has been shared and adopted by all districts in North Sulawesi and other endemic places in Indonesia.
mLep Project mLep (mobile Leprosy) is a project with the vision of preventing, finding, treating, and managing disabilities caused by leprosy and possibly also other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) using modern technology. mLep uses technology to bring access and information to people with disabilities caused by leprosy (and other NTDs) and enable them to have good contact with the healthcare workers in their communities. Training and resources are communicated both online through web applications and by SMS. After one year of implementation in two districts in Indonesia, there are 459 unique users who have participated in mLep’s pilot phase. 5,267 replies have been sent by these users to the mLep messages; 71% (about 3750 messages) of those required follow up from the local operator at the health centre.
Strengthening Participation of People Affected by Leprosy (SPP) Project SPP (Strengthening of persons affected by leprosy in leprosy services) in line with the 2010 WHO guidelines, is piloted in a project from 20132015. The ILEP TEG for SPP, of which NLR Indonesia staff is a member, is working on practical advices for SPP. Social stigma to the people affected by leprosy are reduced after community members received visits from people affected by leprosy who gained empowerment from SPP project. The SHGs members and SPP team have increased their confident and they are able to voice themselves in front of communities and public. In Bone District, for instance the SPP team was invited to educate 175 new head of village about leprosy.
Inclusive DPO Project Strengthening an inclusive Disabled People Organization (DPO) which include persons with disabilities and people affected by leprosy have resulted in the increased trust and support from the local government and multi sectors. Difabel Slawi Mandiri (DSM), as an inclusive DPO, is able to advocate their rights to public in Tegal District. Disability is becoming one of the important social issue and DSM is now involved on the district’s government planning.
Bridge Research Project Bridge is a collaborative research project between Brazil and Indonesia which provides many positive points to exchange between the two countries, particularly on the theme ‘Community Based Rehabilitation’. For this research, NLR Indonesia involves people affected by leprosy as field researchers and aim at empowering the organizations, i.e. FKDC and Difabel Slawi Mandiri (DSM) on research skills.
Sorong (Papua) Rehabilitation Support Project Supported by the Doopsgezinde Zending, NLR implements a project to improve access to medical and rehabiliation services for people affected by leprosy in West Papua. This project is focused on supported persons affected by leprosy in a sustainable way by increasing the involvement of stakeholders, building up capacity in comprehensive rehabilitation and by strengthening a workshop for prostheses and orthopedic footwear in West Papua. Regular outreach visits are undertaken by health staff to support persons affected by leprosy with their treatment and prevent new cases, self-​care groups and self-​help groups are established and strengthened, and capacity building for health workers and those working in rehabilitation services have been carried out. The project is implemented from 20122016.

Office information

Country Director:

Monique Soesman

Number of employees:


Contact information:

Rumiza Buildin, 3rd floor,
Jl. Guntur No. 22, Setiabudi
Jakarta 12980
Phone: (021) 8353516
Fax: (021) 8353519
E-​mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit the website of the regional office for more information: nlrindone​sia​.or​.id

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