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Funding needed for gov't's cancer program –ex DOH usec

A former undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday called on the government to fund the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), as some Filipinos continued to struggle with cancer.

Interviewed at the Laging Handa public briefing, Dr. Madeleine Valera said one year after the law was signed, the National Integrated Cancer Advisory Council which should develop the National Cancer Control roadmap, had still not been set up.

Valera said the council was supposed to be composed of cancer experts including doctors and surgeons, and cancer patients' groups for policy-making in cancer care.

"Alam ko na medyo hirap tayo ngayon sa budget dahil meron nga tayong COVID, pero sana naman ay mabigyan din ng tamang budget ang NICCA, kasi useless magkaroon ng law kung wala naman itong pera para ma-implement at maibahagi sa mga pasyente," Valera said.

Valera added that the Cancer Council could recommend more treatment options in coordination with the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) under the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.

"Dapat mag-usap silang dalawa ng Cancer Council at ito'y magagawa lamang kung may maganda tayong mga datos, mga data na puwedeng gawing basis as evidence for coming up with policies," she said.

Valera said citizens fighting cancer struggled to get to their hospital checkups and treatments due to the lockdowns brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duterte signed Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act on February 14, 2019.

The law mandates the adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development 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 measure seeks to establish the National Integrated Cancer Control Program that aims to lessen deaths from and incidence of preventable cancer in adults and children and prevent cancer recurrence and secondary cancer among survivors and people living with cancer.

The program also aims to make cancer treatment and care affordable and accessible and support the recovery and reintegration into society of cancer survivors, and eliminate the various burdens on patients, people living with cancer, survivors, and their families, among others. — DVM, GMA News