Game changer in cancer care

Panelists at the Cancer Game Plan Summit (Photo by Ramir G. Cambiado)


The Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO) held a multi-stakeholder collaborative dialogue entitled, “Cancer Game Plan 2018 Summit: How Service Delivery Network (SDN) Can Work for Cancer” to highlight the important role of patient groups in developing a strong, responsive and comprehensive cancer care program for Filipino patients. By outlining a clearer patient pathway, the dialogue aims to create a more efficient, expedient and beneficial way of navigating through the disease to all stakeholders.

The dialogue followed the launch of Cancer Game Plan PH, an advocacy designed to systematically change cancer disease care by promoting early detection and diagnosis as well as accentuating breakthrough new treatments—both a critical factor to patient survivorship. In line with this,patient groups, representatives from the national and local governments, medical societies, cancer organizations, private and public hospitals, financial or funding institutions and the private sector who gathered at the multi-stakeholder dialogue all joined forces to discuss how an institutionalized SDN framework can be cocreated to provide high quality resources that will ease the cancer patients’ journey in the aspect of cancer care.

Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Co-Founder of I Can Serve Foundation and Co-Chair of Cancer Coalition Philippines (Photo by Ramir G. Cambiado)

“This year, we have been collaborating with various cancer advocates to drive discussions around the Cancer Game Plan Advocacy, to eventually help in the shaping of health policy and the health environment that can effectively prevent and address the rising incident of cancer in the Philippines,” said Fatima “Girlie” Lorenzo, PAPO President and founder of Kythe foundation, Inc.

Lorenzo explained that the success of most patient programs is attributed to an institutionalized Service Delivery Network system where all stakeholders understand their role and there is a clear patient pathway which makes navigation from early detection of the disease, access to diagnosis and treatment easier. That was why she elaborated on the value of patient group perspectives in developing a cancer program within a functional SDN framework. She suggested that SDN be used by local government units in planning and implementing their own cancer program in their provinces, cities and municipalities.

The dialogue also showcased examples of SDNs made to address health care issues in the provinces from a number of local government units already implementing their own functional SDNs. These offered standard practices that stakeholders can use in developing an institutionalized and comprehensive patient navigation system.

A patient navigation system should provide individualized assistance to patients so they may have access to timely, affordable and quality medical diagnostics and treatment services. Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Co-Founder of I Can Serve Foundation and Co-Chair of Cancer Coalition Philippines reiterated the importance of having a Patient Navigator Program in LGUs which will involve guiding health care patients as they go through the health care system.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government is constantly on the lookout for better initiatives to broaden the financial coverage in the existing financial assistance for cancer patients through Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes office (PCSO) and to reinforce cancer control and services in the country.

The breakout sessions that happened afterwards at the summit focused on the pillars of patient navigation from registry to palliative care. Each session showed an open dialogue between patient and caregiver as ideas and collaboration were exchanged and made between representative leaders from key stake holders with the patient groups and medical societies as moderators. Furthermore, the Department of Health (DOH) urge to move each pillar of the SDN forward with the aim of making the health policy more supportive for patient. Former DOH Secretary and cancer survivor, Dr. Esperanza Cabral also shared her survivor story to reinforce the value of patient voice.

Michael Alzona, Patient Engagement Lead for MSD in Asia Pacific, expressed private sector commitment by emphasizing the need to fortify patient-centered and multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts targeted to save more lives against cancer.

Finally, the summit aligns with the global goal of reducing premature deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) by 25% by 2025 advocated by the Union for International Cancer Control. MenchieAuste, Immediate Past Global President and Global Vice President of Childhood Cancer International and an associate member of the UICC emphasized that there are four pillars to be considered to augment cancer patient navigation namely improving registry or collecting cancer data for public health use, increasing access to diagnosis, access to treatment and palliative care. Baby Ann Melinda Velonta

Dec 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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