Inclusion is the concept of everybody - irrelevant of being marginalised or having any kind of (dis)ability - being accepted into society with the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
People affected by NTDs are often poor and already marginalised. NTD-related impairments, activity limitation and/or stigma and discrimination may aggravate this and may lead to various forms of social exclusion.
For which NTDs is this relevant?
It affects all people with NTDs who are poor, but especially those persons who suffer from stigmatised conditions, like Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, lymphatic filariasis, podoconiosis, leishmaniasis, leprosy, onchocerciasis and schistosomiasis.
Inclusion is a universal need and it is closely related to human rights. In the wake of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their slogan, ‘Leave no one behind’, there is an increasing interest in promoting inclusion of people and groups that were excluded to date. Approaches that work for one group, such as socio-economic empowerment, self-organisation and self-advocacy, often also work for other groups, regardless of the cause of the exclusion. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is seen as a strategy for disability-inclusive development. Since inclusion is a need for all persons with disabilities, it can be a vehicle with which persons with NTD-related disabilities can join or be linked to disability organisations, services and facilities. Once a member of a larger disabled people's organisation, these can then advocate for inclusion in mainstream development programmes and wider society.