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2017 SPA-winner Partners In Leprosy Action recognized by SIHI for creating change within leprosy patients and affected communities

2017 SKINPACT Award-winning project, Partners in Leprosy Action (PILA), the Philippines, has been recognized by the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) with its selection as one of the top 23 social innovations that address health care delivery challenges for infectious diseases of poverty.

SIHI defines “Social Innovation” as “a process that deeply engages the hearts and minds of people and leads them to do work that results in transformative systematic change.”

The five core components found in social innovations in health identified by the Initiative are: Need Based, Inclusive, Novel Solution, Change Within People, and Transformative.

PILA, the 2017 SKINPACT Community Vote Award winner in the Community Leadership category, exemplifies the core component of “Change Within People” as the strategy results in the transformation of the way people think, feel and act.

The PILA strategy has already reduced the misconception associated with leprosy, that it is not highly-contagious but treatable and curable, in the Ilocos region in the Philippines. Health care professionals (HCPs) working in the region report that the stigma is lessening and people feel more free to come forward for treatment. HCPs have witnessed the transformation in patients from despair to hope, and regularly see patients become productive members of their communities.

“I think that is the good news, it changes the way they think about the disease, and about themselves,” stated PILA President, Dr. Belen DOFITAS. 

Watch the PILA story as told by Dr. DOFITAS through the SIHI lens.

Bringing together various stakeholders in a combined strategy, the PILA SKINPACT Project aims to establish skin health in remote areas of the Philippines to promote early detection and treatment of Neglected Tropical Diseases affecting the skin (i.e. leprosy, yaws, scabies and other ectoparasites, mycetoma, filariasis, cutaneous leishmaniasis); prevent associated complications; and reduce the stigma and discrimination against these NTDs. HCPs also gain more understanding and confidence in treating leprosy and what messages to communicate to patients and affected communities.

Read more on the PILA project and how it is addressing skin-related Neglected Tropical Diseases in the Philippines.

SIHI is a collaboration between: World Health Organization (WHO); TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases; Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, SAID Business School, University of Oxford; and Bertha Centre, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, established to provide united leadership efforts to advance social innovation in health in developing countries.

More information on SIHI can be found at 

Watch the ceremony video to see Dr. DOFITAS receiving the SKINPACT Award in Manila last November 2017. 

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