Even though cervical cancer screening has been included in a diagnostic package three years ago, the Senate of the Philippines still sought to establish a Philippine Cancer Center as well as a national control program.
In the “Tamang Serbisyo sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya” (Tsekap), cervical cancer was among the medical conditions included in the Enhanced Primary Care Package by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). A total of 15, 068, 028 indigent and sponsored members of the health company can go to either a private or a public hospital that is a Tsekap provider.
But there are still gaps in cancer care, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito reasoned, so he filed Senate Bill 1850 or the “National Integrated Cancer Control Act”. It was approved on third and final reading to be able to, as its title implies, integrate policies for the prevention, detection, correct diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancer.
“Through the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, we can give cancer patients a choice, we can give them hope – hope that they will have an equitable and affordable cancer treatment and care especially for the underprivileged and marginalized Filipinos,” Sen. Ejercito was quoted saying in an article.
Under the bill, it will not only be cervical cancer that the PhilHealth can sponsor for but all types and stages of cancer in both adults and children. All member employees and voluntary members shall be covered and compensated by the sickness benefits of the Social Security System and the disability benefits of the Government Service Insurance System.
All health maintenance organizations would be required, too, to cover genetic counseling and testing, cancer screening, and diagnostic and palliative care. The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital should establish the Philippine Cancer Center and a fund—the Cancer Assistance Fund—to ensure a steady supply of cancer drugs and cancer control related vaccines to patients.
Cancer is the third leading cause of adult death and the 4th for child morbidity in the country. There are an estimated 8 deaths per day for child cancer and up to 11 new cases and 7 deaths per hour for adult cancer based on the record of the Department of Health. This translates to almost 110,000 new cancer cases and over 66,000 cancer deaths every year.
“Through the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, we can give cancer patients a choice, we can give them hope – hope that they will have an equitable and affordable cancer treatment and care especially for the underprivileged and marginalized Filipinos,” Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Medical Observer