“Pres. Noy, let’s make the fight against childhood cancer a priority” – Senator Pia Cayetano

Senate Health and Demography Committee Chair Senator Pia Cayetano appealed to the Aquino administration to intensify childhood cancer programs in the country.

“Cancer kills more people than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined. It is the leading cause of death among children 5-14 years old. These children die not because of

limitations of modern science but because of constraints posed by poverty and the families’ inability to get early diagnosis, access to life saving drugs and afford timely and appropriate treatment,” reported Sen. Cayetano.

Sen. Cayetano thus requested the Senate to include in its legislative agenda basic rights of children with cancer including: the right to early and proper diagnosis; the right to access affordable medicines; the right to appropriate and quality medical treatment; and the right to follow-up care, services and sustainable livelihood opportunities for survivors.

With the oversight capacity of the Congress, Sen. Cayetano recommended the following actions be taken as a response to the challenges posed by childhood cancer: (1) expand the life-saving program: “Free Access to Drugs of Kids with Leukemia” to include other childhood cancers such as retinoblastoma and osteosarcoma; (2) ask Public Private Partnership Office to prioritize the roll-out programs and initiatives on childhood cancer for 2012-2013; (3) ensure that the inclusion of leukemia and non-leukemia drugs in the priority list of the Cheaper Medicines Law be continued; (4) strengthen the national health systems and services for childhood cancer; (5) for PhilHealth, to expand out-patient coverage to include coverage of diagnostic services, supportive care services and complete treatment of those affected by childhood cancers (6) provision for follow up care services of survivors; and (7) for the LGUs, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Education DepEd) and civil society organizations to work together.