DILI, 28 january 2022 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste needs a leprosy awareness campaign on social media to reach the target group, particularly the young people.
“We need to know who our targeted audience is. If we are targeting young people, then launching a Leprosy Awareness Campaign on social media is important. So, we can spread the message on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and much better on Tik-Tok,” Dr Dermatologist Dulce Madalena Alberto told TATOLI at the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV), in Dili, on wednesday.
Madalena stressed that most people nowadays are on social media rather than watching TV, listening to the radio, or even reading the newspaper.
To mobilize young people to be involved in the combat against leprosy, she said: “If we want to realize our dream towards zero leprosy then our campaign must be targeting the young people by using social media.”
In addition, Madalena said apart from social media, contact tracing is also important to detect new cases of leprosy in the communities.
“We need to carry out a socialization and leprosy awareness campaign at schools, universities, government institutions, NGOs, and at churches,” She stressed.
Apart from socialization, according to her, we also need to carry out contact tracing, such as finding those who are in close contact with the lepers.
“So, if we carry out both medical treatment and leprosy awareness campaigns in the country successfully, I think we might realize our dream of reaching zero leprosy by 2030,” she said.
Earlier this week, the Chief of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Program of the Ministry of Health, Jose Liu Fernandes revealed that since 2000, MoH registered more than 5.000 cases of leprosy, meanwhile, Leprosy Mission Timor-Leste registered around 3.000 cases of leprosy in the country.
Last year, MoH recorded 150 cases of leprosy in eight municipalities and the Special Administrative Region of Oé-Cusse Ambeno (RAEOA.
Of the 150 cases, 30 were detected in Baucau, 28 in Dili, 19 in Covalima, 18 in Ainaro, 17 in Manatuto, 15 in RAEOA, seven in Liquiçá, two in Lautém and one in Viqueque municipality.
Fernandes reiterated MoH’s committeemen to eliminate leprosy in the country by 2030.
He said the leprosy awareness campaign would be broadcasted on TV and Radio on january 28, to raise the awareness of the communities on combating leprosy in Timor-Leste.
Journalist: Filomeno Martins
Editor: Rafy Belo