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DOH, NOVARTIS Foundation Renew Commitment To Eliminate Leprosy In The Philippines

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The Department of Health (DOH), Novartis Healthcare Philippines and the Novartis Foundation have renewed their collaboration to sustain the fight against leprosy in the post-elimination phase and prevent disease re-emergence in the Philippines

     Leprosy was eliminated as a public health problem in the country in 1998 when its prevalence rate was reduced to less than 1 case per 10,000 people. However, according to the DOH, pockets of cases are still being identified in some municipalities, with certain regions having a higher prevalence than others.

     “The DOH is pleased to renew our collaboration with the Novartis Foundation and Novartis Healthcare Philippines. Stakeholder collaboration and evidence-based innovation are essential in the crucial ‘last mile’ of leprosy elimination in the country,” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.

     “Novartis has a long-term commitment to leprosy control. Through our continuing collaboration, we aim to support the National Leprosy Control Program Roadmap 2013-2018 of the DOH,” said Dr. Nikolaos Tripodis, President and Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

     “Since 2000, Novartis has donated more than 47,000 multi-drug therapy [MDT] courses to Filipino patients affected by leprosy. MDT has made it possible to cure patients, interrupt the transmission of leprosy and prevent disabilities. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of leprosy patients remains the cornerstone of the elimination strategy,” said Ms. Christine Fajardo, Corporate Affairs and Market Access Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.

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