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Leprosy is a neglected disease in the Philippines. We, considered as experts in Leprosy, have the responsibility to provide the best care practices for our patients. Still considered as a curse by most Filipinos, our patients do not only suffer the physical effects of this disease but also endure the stigma it carries because of its devastating social, economic, psychological and mental toll on the patients.

Dr Rubite, the Program Manager of the DOH National Leprosy Control Program enlightened us about the status of Leprosy in our country and introduced to us the first Leprosy Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Philippines which answered 10 very relevant questions. Dr. Gabriel then gave an in depth lecture on the management of Leprosy including resistant cases and immunoprophylaxis. A very rich discussion followed where actions done to face the challenges of the pandemic, stigma reduction, patient support groups and DOH-PDS partnership were tackled. These are important factors to consider for the overall wellness of our patients afflicted with leprosy especially during this challenging time of pandemic.

It is our duty as PDS members to do our part not only in treating our patients clinically but also supporting their well-being through compassionate service. Together, we can achieve a Leprosy-free Philippines!

Prepared by: Abelaine Venida Tablizo, MD, FPDS Chair, Leprosy Subspecialty Group

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