MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to institutionalize a national integrated cancer control program.
Voting 198-0, the lower chamber approved House Bill 8636, or the proposed National Integrated Cancer Control Act, which aims to make cancer treatment and care more equitable and affordable for all, especially the underprivileged, poor, and marginalized Filipinos.
The bill seeks to promote an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which includes strengthening of integrative multidisciplinary, patient, and family centered cancer control policies, systems, and services at all levels of the existing healthcare delivery system.
Under the measure, a National Integrated Cancer Control Program shall be established to serve as the framework for all cancer-related activities of the government.
This includes efforts to decrease overall mortality and impact of all adult and childhood cancer and to lessen the incidence of preventable cancer as well as prevent recurrence of cancer and secondary cancer among survivors.
A National Integrated Cancer Control Advisory Council shall also be created to act as a recommendatory body for policy matters related to cancer control.
The bill also proposes a Cancer Assistance Fund to be managed by the Department of Health (DOH) to support a medicine and treatment assistance program.
The PhilHealth benefit package shall be expanded to include screening, detection, diagnoses, treatment assistance, palliative care, and other necessary care and treatment for all types and stages of cancer in adults and children.
The DOH shall be mandated to institute and conduct reforms to ensure early access of patients to essential medicines, innovative medicines and technologies, and a sufficient supply of medicines for palliative care and pain management that are at affordable prices.
Cancer patients shall be accorded rights and privileges similar to persons with disabilities in accordance with the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons." (PNA)
Photo from National Cancer Institute