Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon (right), a Thomasian, shakes hand with Department of Health Secretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa on Aug. 13 as he begins his term as special adviser for non-communicable diseases. (Photo grabbed from Leachon’s Facebook page)

A THOMASIAN doctor has begun his term as a special adviser for non-communicable diseases at the Department of Health (DOH) with the goal of empowering Filipinos with preventive health education through the “Healthier Philippines” campaign.

Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon, an internist and cardiologist at the Manila Doctor’s Hospital, was appointed for his “exemplary knowledge and experience in the medical field,” DOH Secretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said in a statement on Aug. 11. 

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Leachon said he aims to use traditional and social media to bring awareness to various causes of non-communicable diseases in schools, workplaces and local government units.

“Filipinos will be empowered citizens who can take proactive steps to manage their health, prevent the onset of chronic diseases, and have strong support to lead healthier lifestyles,” he said.

Non-communicable diseases, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, are the top five leading killers of Filipinos in 2022, including coronary heart disease, neoplasm, stroke, diabetes and hypertension.

Among the key features of the “Healthier Philippines” campaign, according to Leachon, include:

  • Empowerment of one’s health;
  • Promotion of strong patient-doctor relationships by receiving long-term and dedicated care from a trusted family doctor;
  • A shift toward preventive care through the dissemination of a health plan that includes nationally-recommended health screenings and vaccinations;
  • Community programs recommended by the doctor to sustain healthier habits; and
  • Better care delivery through digital infrastructure.

The DOH already launched in 2013 a program to prevent non-communicable diseases dubbed  “Pilipinas Go4Health,” a 10-million peso program to encourage Filipinos to exercise, eat healthy foods and quit smoking.

Leachon finished Bachelor of Science in General, the precursor of the Biology program, from the UST College of Science from UST in 1981. He obtained his Medicine degree from the University in 1985.

He was part of the winning teams of Pautakan, the Varsitarian’s long-running intercollegiate quiz competition, in 1981 and 1982, when Science and Medicine topped, respectively.

Leachon was president of the Philippine College of Physicians in 2014 and the UST Medical Alumni Association in 2016. 

The College of Science bestowed him the Outstanding Alumni of Science Tribute in 2021 for medical practice and profession.

Leachon was special adviser to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 in 2020, but he resigned “due to differences with DOH’s policies.”


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