Ex-health official says DOH should fund enforcement of law on cancer care

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2020 02:49 PM

The New York Times /File Photo

MANILA - A former health official is calling on the Department of Health to fund the implementation of a law dedicated to cancer care. 

In a public press briefing, former health undersecretary Madeleine Valera said it was high time to fund the implementation of Republic Act 11215, which creates the National Integrated Cancer Control Program.

She noted that it has been a year since the law was passed and the cancer council it mandates to be created has not come to fruition.

“Sana maibulong na [ni DOH Undersecretary Vergeire] baka naman ma-set up na natin ang national cancer council na composed ng mga dalubhasa sa cancer ng mga doktor, surgeons, patients' group at cancer advocates na tumutulong para gumawa ng polisiya tungkol sa cancer care,” Valera said. 

(I hope DOH Undersecretary Vergeire urges the agency to set up the National Cancer Council which is composed of researchers, doctors, surgeons, patients’ group and cancer advocates who can help craft policies about cancer care.) 

“Alam ko medyo hirap tayo sa budget dahil sa COVID pero dapat bigyan din ng tamang budget ang NICC (National Integrated Cancer Control Council) kasi useless ito kung wala naman tayong budget para ma-implement,” she added. 

(I know we are having a hard time with the budget because of COVID but we should also give enough budget to the NICC because it’s useless if we don’t have a budget to implement the law.) 

The law, signed by Duterte on February 14, creates the National Integrated Cancer Control Program which shall serve as the framework for all of the government’s cancer-related activities. 

But as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues, government has been focused on responding to the outbreak. 

Valera noted that there was briefly a difficulty in admission and treatment of cancer patients when the lockdown on the coronavirus was starting. 

“Noon medyo hirap ang mga ating kababayan na magpa-chemo dahil sa lockdowns but now medyo OK na, may mga cancer groups na tumutulong na sila ay mabigyan ng transport means para makapunta sa hospitals at pagkatapos ang mga ospital ay gumawa ng paraan na hindi mahalo ang pasyente,” she said. 

(At the start [of the pandemic] Filipinos had a hard time getting chemotherapy because of the lockdowns but that seems to be easing now. Cancer groups are helping patients getting transportation means to go to hospitals. They also find ways for these patients to not get mixed with those getting screened for COVID-19.) 

Valera urged patients to also check out government hospitals providing cancer care, as identified by DOH. 

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

Watch more in iWantTFC