MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law a bill institutionalizing a ‘national integrated’ program to control cancer, one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines.
Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11215, now also known as the ‘National Integrated Cancer Control Act’ on February 14.
“The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach which includes the strengthening of integrative, multidisciplinary, patient and family centered cancer control policies, programs, systems, interventions and services at all levels of the existing health care delivery system” the law reads.
The National Integrated Cancer Control Program shall serve as the framework for all cancer-related activities of the government to “decrease the overall mortality and impact of all adult and childhood cancer”.
The program also aims to lessen the incidence of preventable cancer, prevent cancer recurrence, provide timely access to optimal cancer treatment and care, make treatment affordable and accessible, and eliminate various forms of burden on patients and their families.
Under the new law, the Department of Health is tasked to provide early and sufficient access to cancer medicines and “ensure highest possible chance of survival among people with cancer”.
The DOH and local government units are expected to strengthen the capabilities of public health care systems and facilities in dealing with cancer.
A Philippine Cancer Center and Regional Cancer Centers will be established to strengthen the specialization and research on cancer treatment.
The new law created the Cancer Assistance Fund, which will support the cancer medicine and assistance treatment program.
The DOH is also mandated under the new law to provide subsidies and scholarships for the training of oncology professionals. (PNA / )