Last Updated on February 20, 2024

The Department of Health (DOH), in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines, will hold the 1st DOH-WHO Cancer Control Stakeholders Virtual Summit on September 29-30, 2021. With the theme “Better Survival is Achievable #ThroughOurHands,” the summit will put a special focus on childhood cancer.

Advocacies on cancer control help stir the people’s response and cooperation now that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Philippines. As the World Health Organization (WHO) expects the cancer burden to increase by at least 60% over the next two decades, cancer remains a national health priority in the Philippines.

The enactment of Republic Act No. 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) in February 2019 aims to address this growing cancer burden which also exerts tremendous physical, emotional, and financial strain on individuals, families, communities, and health systems around the world according to WHO.

Led by DOH, the virtual summit is a key strategy to highlight the observance of International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the plans under the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer geared towards improving the quality of life of children by achieving at least 60% survival and reducing the suffering of all children with cancer by 2030. The summit also aims to commemorate the stakeholders’ triumph and milestones in the second anniversary of NICCA’s enactment.

“We cannot prevent cancer among children, but with correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment and care,  we can help improve their clinical condition and ensure their survival. In this summit, we want to continue raising awareness of the role of early detection and proper treatment in controlling cancer. Rest assured that DOH, through the Cancer and Supportive-Palliative Medicines Access Program and the Malasakit Program, will continue to provide medical and financial assistance to children with cancer,” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

The Summit is open to all. A Pre-Summit on September 28 will also take place to incite the public’s participation in cancer control-related advocacies through a casual afternoon tea session about Community Mobilization Towards Better Cancer Care.

Towards achieving the shared objectives in cancer control, convening stakeholders from all sectors will be a platform for networking and dialogue for an intensified campaign on cancer awareness. The Summit will be a venue for stakeholders from all walks of society to meet and ensure that even the most marginalized voice can participate in how the Philippines can strengthen the National Integrated Cancer Control Program and save more lives.

“We commend the Department of Health, and all stakeholders including advocates of cancer control, for this first-ever Cancer Control Stakeholders Summit in the Philippines. Our collective goal is to prevent certain cancers, improve treatment outcomes and assist in the longer survival of all persons affected by cancer, including improving their quality of life. In the case of childhood cancers, we support early diagnosis, expand access to quality treatment and care, and give all children with cancer the best chance to survive.

The WHO supports the Philippines as it prioritizes cancer control, especially childhood cancer at the national and regional levels, and equips health facilities and care networks with the latest evidence-based guidance, essential technologies, and medicines as the Philippines strives to achieve universal health care. Let us all work together so that all cancer survivors, especially children can live full and abundant lives without suffering,” said Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representative to the Philippines.