The Leprosy Mission praises the Government for listening to NGOs working with disabled people when compiling the Disability Framework

The Leprosy Mission England and Wales welcomes the publication of the Government’s Disability Framework and looks forward to seeing evidence of UK aid reaching an increasing number of people with disabilities in developing countries through annual stocktakes of DfID’s programmes, as promised in the framework.

Around one billion people – or 15 per cent of the world’s population – are disabled with the vast majority – 80 per cent – living in developing countries.

Leprosy is a deeply-disabling disease of poverty.  With the Millennium Development Goals making no mention of disability or Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), The Leprosy Mission has long seen people affected by leprosy marginalised from UK aid programmes.

After two years of campaigning for a UK government inquiry, The Leprosy Mission was delighted to hear in April the Government recognising that more needs to be done to include people with disabilities in overseas aid programmes.  It has lobbied the Government to include measures in the framework to ensure people with disabilities are reached.

Head of Programmes Coordination at The Leprosy Mission England and Wales, Sian Arulanantham said:  “There are many points to applaud in the new framework, aside from gathering data and recognising the need to tackle stigma and inclusion.  The framework also includes preventing disability by reaching out to those with NTDs, which include leprosy.

“It is also good the framework recognises the importance of strengthening the engagement between disabled people and DfID country offices.  Overall we are delighted that the Government has listened to NGOs and disabled people’s organisations while compiling the framework.”

The Leprosy Mission is continuing to lobby MPs to vote, for a final time on Friday 5 December, to enshrine in law Britain’s commitment to spending 0.7% of GDI on overseas aid.  After much lobbying by international development charities, including The Leprosy Mission, MPs overwhelmingly voted, back in September, to enshrine the 0.7% aid target.

Mrs Arulanantham said:  “Together with the new disability framework, a commitment to legislate the 0.7% target will see the UK at the forefront of delivering international aid that benefits all and will hopefully encourage more European countries to follow suit.

“It also puts the UK government in a strong position on the world stage to advocate for measures to be included in the Post-2015 Development Framework to reach people with disabilities and NTDs who have previously been marginalised from aid programmes.”