BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reported that Abra continues to record increasing leprosy cases in the region because of its proximity with the Ilocos Region, one of the regions with the most number of cases in the country.
Clint Gil Ildefonso, TB and leprosy coordinator of the DOH-CAR, said for this year, there are 20 leprosy cases being administered by the different hospitals regionwide, although the said cases had been on a down trend over the past several years.
Of the 20 reported leprosy cases, Ildefonso revealed that 13 came from Abra, 7 seven from Baguio City and a lone case from Ifugao.
Dr. Alexie Marrero, head of DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said the transmission of leprosy is air borne that is why it is easy for people with weak resistance to contract the illness although it is curable.
“Individuals suffering from leprosy must immediately get in touch with the nearest health facilities in their places so that they will not contaminate others as its transmission is air borne,” Marrero stressed.
He said the health department made sure that medicines for leprosy are available in all government health facilities in the different parts of the region to provide leprosy patients the appropriate medication and prevent them from contaminating others.
It was learned that Abra registered the second highest number of leprosy cases among the provinces in the country in 1996.
Ildefonso revealed that Abra has a history of high leprosy cases so it is not surprising if the province continues to record more leprosy cases through the years.
According to him, the proximity of Abra with Region I allows people from the province to contract the illness because they usually travel to the nearby provinces to transact business, thus, they could easily acquire the disease thereat.
He called on the public to avoid ostracizing people with leprosy, but instead treat them with respect and make them feel they belonging to help them hurdle their difficulties.
He also appealed to local governments to provide their hospitals with the locally procured medicines to augment whatever medicines coming from the health department so that immediate medical attention could be given to leprosy patients that seek assistance from the health facilities.
Ildefonso expressed confidence that leprosy cases will be significantly reduced in the region in the coming years because of the aggressive campaign of the health department in informing the public on how to be able to get medical assistance from the health facilities for the immediate curing of the disease.