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Increasing Leprosy Cases in Micronesia Points to Better Detection and Awareness

POHNPEI , Apr 3 2019 (IPS) - Elizabeth Keller is one of the most senior health officials in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
She is the current acting chief of Public Health and also the head of the leprosy programme in the island nation’s capital of Pohnpei.
While Pohnpei has the largest number of leprosy cases in the country—nearly 100 new cases are reported here every year—Keller says that more new cases doesn’t necessarily present an alarming picture. She says that this should be viewed instead as a positive sign that the government’s activities are effective as more people are coming forward to be diagnosed than ever before.

During a recent visit of the Sasakawa Health Foundation/Nippon Foundation team to Micronesia’s Health Ministry, Keller talks about how her department is trying to protect the children of Pohnpei from leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen’s disease. She also talks of the unique perspective and strength that a female leader like her can bring to public health.

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jacob grinberg