Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippines
Title: Prevalence and risk factors for skin diseases among Philippine National Police Officers in Camp Crame, Quezon City
Biography: Abigael Villanueva
Background: The Philippine government as stated in the 1987 Constitution has emphasized the need for national security and maintenance of peace and order in nation building. It fully recognizes that the lack of these may impact the economy and subsequently adversely affect the progress and development of the country. To ensure that this policy is enforced, the Philippine Constitution also states a provision for the establishment of a police force with the primary task of ensuring national security, the Philippine National Police (PNP). Philippine National Police (PNP), as the premier law enforcing agency is at the forefront in ensuring internal peace and order in the country. For the first time in the country, a baseline study on the prevalence and risk factors for common skin diseases among Philippine National Police personnel was conducted on the National Headquarters of the PNP from March 1 to August 31, 2016.
Significance of the Study: Given this tremendous responsibility of the police force, ensuring their optimum health should be a priority. Skin disease is an important health concern which is often overlooked but may impact work performance of the PNP and in a larger scale, affect national security.
Objectives Of The Study: This pioneering study sought to determine the prevalence and specific types of skin diseases and their associated risk factors among police officers in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippines.
Materials and methods: Using a cross-sectional analytic study design, data were obtained from 384 randomly selected participants through self-administered questionnaires and skin examination performed by qualified dermatologists.
Results: Out of the 384 uniformed PNP personnel who participated in this study, 307 were found to have at least one skin disease thus resulting to skin disease prevalence of 80%. Among the general types of skin disease, dermatitis and eczemas ranked first with an estimated prevalence of 29.7% followed by pigmentary disorder (19.0%) and disorder of the skin appendage (17.2%). Among the specific types of skin disease, the most prevalent are melasma, acne and verruca plana (17.4%, 14.6% and 8.9%, respectively). Age, gender, position and years of service in the PNP, place of residence and work, and hygienic practices were found to be associated with various skin diseases.
The prevalence of skin disease was found to increase significantly with the number of personal items shared with others. Lower composite hygiene score was associated with having at least one (non-communicable) skin disease.
Cutaneous diseases in police troops have been recognized as a significant cause of morbidity. In our study, eczemas, acne, fungal infection and verruca showed highly in prevalence in the police force. These diseases are not life threatening and incapacitating, however they may severely affect the daily activities and performance of the police troops. There were many other skin diseases detected during examination like urticaria and insect bite allergies which may be underestimated due to its transient appearance of symptoms. The knowledge of the spectrum of dermatologic diseases in police troops serves as an important planning guidance in the appropriate medical diagnosis management of skin diseases. Proper management of the skin disease would therefore influence significantly the quality of the lives of the police troops in the combative environment and in the barracks. In addition, intensive information campaign on its existence in the police troop, provision of protective garments, maintenance of cleanliness in the communal home and personal hygiene should be properly addressed.