[From left: Christine Fajardo, Novartis Healthcare Philippines corporate affairs and market access director; DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag; Dr. Ayedee Ace Domingo, Innovative Ideas gold awardee; Dr. Ann Aerts, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development head; and DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial.]

MANILA, MAY 13, 2013 (PHILSTAR) - A collaborative community-based campaign and a mobile phone-based referral system won the Gold Award for Best Practices and Innovative Ideas, respectively, in the Best Practices and Innovative Ideas in the Fight against Leprosy Contest.

Organized by leading research-based healthcare company Novartis Healthcare Philippines and the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, the contest aims to sustain the country’s fight against leprosy in the post-elimination phase. There were a total of 35 contest entries — 19 for the Best Practices category and 16 for the Innovative Ideas category.

“Modified Leprosy Elimination Campaign (MLEC) in Three Cities of Northern Mindanao” reduced the prevalence rate of leprosy in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Oroquieta through active case detection and standard treatment.

Key actions of the campaign include disease mapping, advocacy and information dissemination, community mobilization, case detection and treatment, monitoring and evaluation, and media coverage and updates.

First implemented in early 2007, the campaign is a collaboration among the local government units (LGUs) of the three cities, the DOH Center for Health Development (CHD) Northern Mindanao, World Health Organization (WHO), the national and local media, and community members.

For being adjudged the best entry in the Best Practices category, the MLEC proponents received a P100,000 cash prize.

“Mobile Teledermatology E-Referral System for Active Case Finding of New Leprosy Case” aims to enable midwives, nurses and physicians in rural areas to refer suspected leprosy cases by using a mobile phone to photograph skin lesions and send such pictures and patient details via MMS (multimedia messaging service) and SMS (short message service).

Conceptualized by MetaHelix, the teledermatology approach was adjudged best entry in the Innovative Ideas category and received a P15,000 cash prize.

MetaHelix is a local tech company with extensive expertise in health information management systems, electronic patient records, software development, telehealth, public health information systems, and disease surveillance systems.

Other winners in the Best Practices category were “Best Practices of Western Visayas Sanitarium in Fighting Leprosy” (silver award, P40,000 cash prize), and the Philippine Leprosy Mission’s “Partners in Leprosy Action” (bronze award, P20,000 cash prize).

“All for Juan, Juan for All” of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology received the silver award and a P10,000 cash prize in the Innovative Ideas category.

Two entries, “Mobile Phone for Dermatology: Handy Tools for Leprosy Control” of the Philippine General Hospital’s Section of Dermatology and Garey Joseph Geneta’s “Utilizing the Nursing Process in Fighting Hansen’s Disease” won the bronze award and a P5,000 cash prize each.

Twelve-year-old high school student Ethan Rosca’s “Leprosy Awareness Campaign” received a special citation for initiative. The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s Department of Dermatology’s poster “A Model for Sustainable Actions Toward Leprosy Elimination” also received a special citation.

The panel of judges consisted of DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, WHO country representative to the Philippines Dr. Woo-Jin Lew, and Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development corporate responsibility adviser Dr. York Lunau.

Criteria for judging included impact on beneficiaries, innovation, sustainability, potential for replication, and overall quality and scientific validity, including track record of the author and/or organization.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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