ILIGAN CITY (PIA)–Dr. Precious Imam, a young dermatologist here is advocating to help patients with skin diseases, especially Hansen’s disease or leprosy.

Imam said she aims to end the stigma against patients who have Hansen’s disease by raising awareness.

“I want to help eliminate the stigma para pod dili nato ma-shun away ang atong mga kauban nga naay leprosy para mas museek silag consultation, and mas matabangan nato,” she said.

[I want to help eliminate the stigma so that we can’t shun away those patients who have leprosy so that they seek more consultation, and we can help them more.]

The young health professional used to be a nurse working in government service and eventually becoming a dermatologist.

When she had her residency training in Quezon City for three years, she witnessed the sufferings of patients with Hansen’s disease. She said that patients undergo depression and refuse to have social interaction because they are ashamed of their condition. This motivated her to pursue her advocacy.

She then put up a clinic in Iligan City and is currently the head of the dermatology section at Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. Recently, she also volunteered during the city-wide Kilatis Kutis campaign of the Iligan City Health Office to treat patients with various skin diseases.

The young dermatologist hopes that the public would stop discriminating against people with skin diseases especially Hansen’s disease as it can be treated.

“For me as a dermatologist, there’s always hope. Hansen’s disease is curable given the right circumstance, given the right assessment and with the right treatment,” she said.

While the treatment takes a long process, patients must not give up as the government offers programs to help them. Patients can be treated for free through their local health facilities. (LELA/PIA-10/Lanao del Norte)