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PIA Press Release
2008/02/08

Bangued LGU determined to eliminate leprosy

by Maritess Beņas

BANGUED, Abra (8 February) -- The local government unit is determined to eliminate cases of leprosy in this capital town. This was learned from Mayor Dominic B. Valera, who is sponsoring the launching of the campaign to eliminate the disease on February 8.

In an interview with Ms. Lilibeth Martin, the program coordinator for the control of leprosy in Abra, there are still 10 cases of leprosy in the province and most of the cases are found in Bangued.

She bared that they have to keep an eye on the leprosy cases in Bangued because it had been observed that while there is a significant decline in the number of reported cases, there are new cases detected.

Leprosy is one of the major health concerns of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) for the past 10 years because it is an infectious disease. As a result of the continuing program to control the spread of the disease, the number of cases had been significantly reduced to only 10 now, based on the 2007 statistics.

The leprosy control program in the province started as a collaborative endeavor of the Diocese of Bangued through the Matinian Missionary Brothers who had special training on the handling of lepers and the provincial health office. It was later on adopted by the provincial health office as a regular program with special emphasis because of the risks it poses to society particularly the stigma attached to the disease.

Today, the remaining cases are still being closely monitored by the IPHO in collaboration with the Benedictine Sisters, still under the auspices of the Bishop's House. The Benedictine sisters took over the Martinian Brothers in this special health apostolate of the Diocese.

Together with the Mini-Leprosy Elimination Campaign to be launched on Friday, the Bangued LGU together with the Department of Health and the IPHO will likewise observe the Healthy Heart Month celebration. A motorcade around the town proper of Bangued will be done preceding the forum to be conducted at the Mega Centrum Building.

While cardio-vascular diseases including hypertension are as not infectious like leprosy and other skin diseases, this disease is particularly given special attention because it is one of the 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the municipality for the year 2007.

Healthy lifestyle is therefore promoted to prevent cardio-vascular diseases including hypertension. Topics on healthy lifestyle to include proper diet and exercises will be discussed too during the campaign program with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Godofredo Gasa, the as the lead discussant during the forum. (PIA-Abra) [top]

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