Leprosy Elimination and Control through Leprosy Alert Response Network System (LEARNS), Modified Leprosy Elimination Campaign (MLEC) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
Leprosy is a disease that predominantly affects the skin and peripheral nerves, resulting in neuropathy and associated with long-term consequences, including deformities and disabilities. The disease is associated with stigma especially when deformities are present. The Philippines has achieved the elimination of leprosy as a public health problem at the national level in 1998 using the WHO indicator of Prevalence rate of less than 1 case per 10,000 population. However, in the last decades following the elimination of the disease, the Philippines is still the leading country in the Western Pacific Region (WPRO), reporting more than 2000 cases of leprosy annually. Rigorous and sustained screening of household contacts is essential to stop leprosy transmission in the Philippines. Household Contacts (HHC) are easily identifiable target groups who are well motivated to accept examination and intervention like Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
There is strong evidence that leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis can reduce incidence and thereby can prevent transmission of the infection by about 60 - 70%. Recent field studies have demonstrated that chemoprophylaxis with Single Dose Rifampicin (SDR) is safe and operationally feasible. PEP can be integrated in the routine case finding activities of the leprosy program towards attaining the goal of “Zero leprosy” in the country.
AO2021-0004 Updated Guidelines on the Treatment and Prevention of Leprosy