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Government agencies, private sector unite to fight cervical cancer

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According to the Department of Health (DOH) report, in the Philippines, cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, claiming the lives of 12 Filipinas each day. It leads to over 4,000 untimely deaths annually and puts about 40 million Filipina women and children at risk.

However, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global strategy, the Philippines can eliminate cervical cancer if it meets its 90-70-90 targets. This goal rests on three key pillars: vaccinating 90 percent of girls with the HPV vaccine by age 15, screening 70 percent of women with high-performance tests by ages 35-45, and treating 90 percent of women with pre-cancer and invasive cancer.

Acknowledging that reaching the 90-70-90 goals for immunization, screening, and treatment of cervical cancer would require a whole-of-society approach, for the first time ever, over 400 stakeholders, including municipalities, healthcare advocacy groups, national agencies, and civil societies, stood united against the Big C at the first Philippine Cervical Cancer Elimination Summit, titled “One Community Against HPV.” In this event, the government and various organizations throughout the country have pledged their commitment to accelerate efforts to eradicate cervical cancer.

On the national agenda

The National Government, through the Senate Committee on Health, has consistently advocated for increased funding for the Cancer Assistance Fund, which supports cancer patients in their medical treatment.

Senator Bong Go, the committee chair, emphasized the urgency of addressing cervical cancer, emphasizing that as a country, the Philippines can change the status quo, “Cervical cancer has taken far too many lives, too soon, and this summit is a powerful step towards changing that narrative. This is not just a policy imperative but a moral obligation to protect the health and futures of our mothers, daughters, and sisters,” he said.

Likewise, the Department of Health (DOH) reaffirmed its mandate to protect the lives and advance the health of every Filipino, highlighting its unwavering support for a future free from cervical cancer. The DOH has integrated the Cancer Control Program into its 8-point action agenda in developing the cervical cancer elimination framework, demonstrating its commitment to a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to combat this disease.

Addressing the healthcare gap

Experts also acknowledged that there’s still a wide healthcare gap in preventing cervical cancer in the country. Healthcare advocacy groups, together with top Philippine specialty doctors, have pledged their unwavering support for addressing literacy and vaccination gaps in the country by promoting awareness, combating misinformation, and strongly recommending HPV vaccination to the patients they serve.

To enhance the public’s accessibility to vaccines, the Philippine Society of Pharmacists Vaccinators (PSPV) has pledged their commitment to advancing their practice by promoting vaccine administration in local pharmacies and making HPV vaccines accessible in pharmacies nationwide.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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