International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    The Hospital de San Lazaro (1900)

    The Hospital de San Lazaro (1900) (Source: OFM Archives)

    The Spanish recorded leprosy in the Philippines from the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Jesuit priests built a hospital, originally for the indigenous inhabitants of the islands, but later dedicated to those with leprosy.

    See Site of Significance: Culion for a description of leprosy in the Philippines under the American Administration

    The International Leprosy Association was founded in Manila, in 1931, with Victor Heiser as president and Robert Greenhill Cochrane as secretary.

    In 2010, WHO reported that a total of 8386 cases were registered in the Western Pacific Region with a prevalence rate of 0.05 per ten thousand population. Five countries (China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam) contributed to 86% of the total prevalence.

    See also: A Legacy of Public Health: The Department of Health Story (PDF), 2nd ed, p. 32 and 47-9


    Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race, and Hygiene in the Philippines (Durham and London: Duke UP, 2006).