A Mighty Force: One woman sets her sights on the health of Filipino children
When Dr. Leda Hernandez began managing the Philippines’ lymphatic filariasis (LF) program more than 25 years ago, she was given just one piece of paper to work with: a prevalence survey from 1960 and reports of a “mysterious disease” coming from some districts.
Dr. Hernandez believed the reported symptoms to be those of LF, a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes that causes thread-like worms to develop in a person’s lymph system. If left untreated, LF can lead to disability, stigma, and economic hardship.
“At first I did not know what to do,” she remembers. “But I collected my presence of mind and gathered all available data, including survey results and write ups.”