DOH, WHO launch cancer program framework for 2024 to 2028

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

February 14, 2024, 8:03 pm

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched the 2024-2028 National Integrated Cancer Control Program (NICCP) Strategic Framework.

The launch coincided with the commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA).

“Universal health coverage and strong primary health care are the keys to addressing broader health system factors that influence equitable access to affordable and high-quality cancer care,” WHO Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rui Paulo de Jesus said in a joint press release on Wednesday.

“The WHO will continue to support the country in ensuring that the cancer control program is built on an effective health system,” he added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, cancer ranked as the second leading cause of mortality in 2022, with lung, breast and liver cancers topping the mortality list.

The enactment of the NICCA in 2019 marked a significant milestone, improving access to cancer centers, providing financial support, and establishing a multi-sectoral council for policy-making, planning and coordination in cancer prevention and control.

It led to the establishment of the Cancer Assistance Fund, offering financial support for various interventions and the Cancer and Supportive-Palliative Medicines Access Program, by providing free medicines.

To date, 35 access sites across the country offer 61 medicines for the most common cancers.

It also supports the cancer specialty centers identified in the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan that provide comprehensive cancer care, along with the primary care facilities that are given the role of prevention, screening, and early detection.

Meanwhile, the DOH vowed to intensify its efforts and interventions directed towards prevention and early detection services to harness the impact of reducing the burden of cancer.

“With the implementation of this strategic framework with our partner agencies, different medical and oncology experts, and partner patient groups, the DOH is confident that the NICCC and key stakeholders will rise above the challenges of cancer control, thus steering us closer to achieving the objectives of Universal Health Care,” Health Secretary Teodora Herbosa said.

He urged Filipinos to adopt a healthy lifestyle and seek prompt consultation to avoid cancer.

The framework outlines the vision and mission of the National Integrated Cancer Control Council (NICCC), and the project’s desired impacts to be achieved over the next four years.

It also underscores the importance of setting priorities and strengthening capacities to achieve the strategic goals of cancer control. (PNA)