THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) will include psoriasis in the list of diseases and ailments covered by its healthcare program, an official said.

Psoriasis Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (PFPI) president Dr. Victoria Guillano, during the Davao Business Forum at Dermpath, SM City Davao Tuesday that Philhealth responded positively on the House Bill no. 719 filed by Masbate Representative Scott La¤ete on the inclusion of psoriasis in the Philhealth coverage.

"The first reading was approved last September 13, 2017 at the Congress and PHIC is already working on it," she said.

She underscored that the goal of the bill is to lessen the cases of psoriasis in the country by making treatment available especially to the marginalized.

According to Healthline newsletter, psoriasis "is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin's surface".

Explaining the magnitude of the disease, Guillano said that 125 million people are affected worldwide by the disease, two million of whom are Filipinos.

In Davao City, where PFPI is based, Guillano bared that from 2014, there are 250 psoriasis cases in the city.

This year, PFPI celebrates its 20th founding anniversary with members reaching some 50 licensed doctors, mostly dermatologists.

The foundation aims to raise funds for the treatment of indigent psoriasis patients and to promote awareness and understanding of the disease.

"With the increasing number of patients coming out but until now the stigma is still there, we call on everyone to be kind and considerate to the patients as the disease is not contagious and is treatable," she said.

She added that patients should seek medical consultation before resorting to self medication as it may worsen the disease.

The global community celebrated the Psoriasis Day on Wednesday, October 25. In Davao City, PFPI, Southern Philippines Medical Center - Dermatology Department, Philippine Dermatological Society and the Department of Health conducted an awareness program on Wednesday at NCCC Mall Davao. During the local celebration, there were lay forum, free clinic, games, and wellness (PsorZumba) activities participated for free by all Psoriasis patients, family members and friends.