DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The heavy financial burden of cancer treatments may soon be alleviated thanks to the soon-to-be released implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.
The law mandates the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to expand its benefit packages to include primary care screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment assistance, supportive care, survivorship follow-up care rehabilitation, and end-of-life care, for all types and stages of cancer in both adults and children.
Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Dr. Abdullah Dumama, Jr., said the IRR for RA 11215 will be out by the end of July or on the first week of August. This announcement came after the final leg of nationwide public consultations was concluded at the Royal Mandaya Hotel last 04 July, Thursday.
“This public consultation involved multi-disciplinary sectors, including the health, education, academe, and skills development,” Dumama said.
The said RA that was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last Feb. 14, aims to prevent cancer cases and improve cancer survival among Filipinos through scaling up essential programs and increasing investments that battle cancer.
“The academe will be tasked on the information dissemination. They will cover many things and our schools must be provided enough information on cancer prevention, control, and management,” Dumama said.
According to Dumama, the role of the information sector is very critical especially on cancer awareness since it is seen to lower the morbidity rate caused by cancer.
“We really want to cover the basic to tertiary education because childhood and adult cancer is very prevalent. So, if possible, as early as elementary level, students will know that there is an Act that has been provided and enacted by the government that will help our cancer patients,” he said.
Apart from pushing for prevention and cure, Dumama said the law will also cover bringing the cancer survivors back to the community as productive citizens.
“Cancer treatment is very costly so the patients will really drain their financial resources. In one of the discussions earlier, an OFW who was diagnosed with cancer lost his 10-year savings in his cancer treatment,” he said. “We are with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the implementation of the Act especially in integrating our cancer survivors back in the community.” (davaotoday.com)