Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday assured cancer patients that they can have access to the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) for their treatment for two years.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the total amount of the CAF is PHP529 billion which is valid for two years.

“So, hindi po kailangan mag-aalala ng ating mga pasiyente na may cancer na gustong maka-access nitong pondong ito dahil hanggang sa isang taon po itong pondo natin ay maaari pa rin gamitin (So, our cancer patients who want to access this fund need not worry because this fund is available for use until next year),” she said in a media briefing.

The DOH and the Department of Budget and Management have signed a joint memorandum circular on the CAF. Its implementation will begin soon, she added.

The CAF is a mechanism under the Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act which allows cancer patients access to free medicine under the Cancer and Supportive Palliative Medicines Access Program.

Vergeire said the CAF would be downloaded to different cancer hubs or cancer care centers nationwide -- providing cancer patients diagnostics, medications, treatment, and other needs.

“Hindi lang po cancer patients ang included dito, pati po ‘yung mga nagkaroon ng remission, tapos kailangan na magpa-test (This is not exclusive to cancer patients, this includes those who had remission and they need tests) regularly, they are part of this one,” she added.

The DOH will release a list of the hospitals through which the CAF could be accessed. (PNA)