Ifugao PHO enjoins public to help manage leprosy
LAGAWE, Ifugao– Leprosy is not a threat to public health if we know and practice the proper management of this skin disease.
Nicanor Tayaban, Leprosy Program Coordinator of the Ifugao Provincial Health Office (PHO), explained that leprosy can be cured with no damaging results, if diagnosed early and treated properly. But if left untreated, it may cause severe physical disabilities and emotional distress.
Leprosy is an infectious skin disease that affects the nerves and mucuos membrane caused by germs (bacilli) called Mycobacterium leprae. It can be transferred by inhaled droplets from an infected person through sneezing and coughing.
The incubation period is three to 15 years from the time of acquisition from any infected person. Signs and symptoms include pale or reddish areas on the skin, loss or decrease of sensation in the skin patch, numbness/tingling and weakness of the hands or feet, painful or tender nerves, swelling or lumps in the face or earlobes, painless wounds or burns on the hands or feet and no sweat and no hair on the affected areas.
“Once regular medication starts after one month, the disease is not already transferable,” Tayaban said.
He disclosed that the province has recorded a total of 31 leprosy cases from 2009 to 2020.
To reduce the prevalence of the disease, the PHO in partnership with other healthcare providers is intensifying leprosy case detection and awareness activities, he said. Among the activities include proper administration, management and supervision of multi-drug therapy medication and proper recording, reporting and monitoring of cases in the different municipalities of the province, he informed.
Tayaban enjoined all health workers and concerned citizens to help in the leprosy case detection and awareness activities, and assist in the proper management and supervision of leprosy patient’s medication to prevent relapse.
“Please refer immediately to your barangay/municipal health workers in case of any suspected leprosy disease for an early diagnosis and treatment to avoid transmission, complications and or disabilities,” he said.
The third week of February of every year is declared as “KilatisKutis” Awareness Week. **JDP/MBL-PIA CAR, Ifugao