Koronadal City—The South Cotabato Provincial Government is working on to declare the province leprosy-free in few years, John Codilla, Program Focal Person, said.
“The province has one case per ten thousand population for the last eight years. Most of the patients are treated,” Codilla said during the recent Kapihan sa Kapitolyo.
The declaration of leprosy-free is set if the local government unit reported a low prevalence rate of leprosy and below the national target in the last five years.
“We are positive that we can get the declaration since we only have three cases at present,” Codilla explained.
The national government eyes the leprosy-free Philippine by 2020.
Leprosy is a long-term infection of the skin that causes deformities of some body parts like feet and hands if left untreated. However, leprosy is not a highly contagious disease. It needs direct contact with an infected person to spread the disease.
“It is not true that you can get leprosy by mere touching. It will take time to get the infection,” Codilla stressed.
Stigma on leprosy is slowly fading out in South Cotabato since the program has been handled accordingly by the local health workers. In South Cotabato, a skin test is done regularly at the grassroots level with the assistance of the Integrated Provincial Health Office.