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PIA Press Release

DOH XI monitors rising leprosy cases

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (23 February) -- Health officials in the region are now doubling efforts in campaigning for the early detection of leprosy cases.

Data showed that Region XI is identified as having high prevalence of leprosy with 1.44 per 10,000 population prevalence rate in 2008.

Such figure is higher than the national date that registered only 0.35 per 10,000 population in the same year.

Davao del Sur ranks first with 1.9 leprosy cases per 10,000 population while Davao City ranks next with 1.6 prevalence rate.

Last year, Davao city recorded 74 new leprosy cases which alarmed the health department.

DOH XI is somehow thankful for the increasing number of detected cases. Health regional director Teogenes Baluma stressed that it would be best that early detection be practiced so that the DOH can extend help to those who have acquired the disease.

"We should all be aware that leprosy should not be feared because it is a mildly communicable disease and that unlike in the olden times, it is now very much curable," Dr. Baluma explained.

Leprosy is a disease caused by Mycobacterium Leprae. Its mode of transmission is by air droplet infection in which the bacilli lodges in the skin or mucus membranes such as in the nose and eyes. Prolonged skin contact can also be a means for the disease transmission.

Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial admitted that the public still have the stigma brought about by this disease.

"We want to intensify campaign in letting everyone know that this disease can be treated. All they have to do is immediately go the health center once they feel some of the symptoms. The health center will provide free medicine for those detected with this disease," Dr. Ubial said.

DOH XI is pushing for a leprosy-free region and it asks everyone to support the battlecry, "go out and be treated." (PIA XI) [top]

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