This was the core message of Dr. Mariza Magan, Schools Division Superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) Tacloban City Division, during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Roche (Philippines) Inc – 2030 Mission Leapfrog Project (MLP) and the DepEd Tacloban City last February 23, 2023, at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Quezon City.
Based on the latest data, around 1,7001,2 teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) Tacloban City Division will benefit from the global initiative called the 2030 Mission Leapfrog Project (MLP) that focuses on bringing transformative and timely interventions for breast and cervical cancer patients.
Dr. Magan added that they are grateful to be chosen as the pilot area of the 2030 Mission Leapfrog Project. With all the collaborations and support from the public and private sectors, the cancer patient story is now being rewritten.
“DepEd sees Mission Leapfrog as a huge help not only to hundreds but to thousands of female employees who are beneficiaries of this medical project. Yes, we only had 80 (teachers) for now, and there was another set last December, and we were able to screen 50 (teachers). Out of 50 once again, may nakitaan na naman ng 5 for further examination. Therefore, MLP has to be getting support coming from our stakeholders in terms of funds, kasi we need partners in order to continue this very noble project, to continue moving forward, and to sustain the project for diagnosis and, of course, hopefully, for treatment.”
The project aims to accelerate the transformation in healthcare outcomes by improving primary healthcare and helping develop a fully funded referral system using the journey of a breast or cervical cancer patient as the focus. Its goal is to “leapfrog” the health systems to a better state in a shorter amount of time compared to what would have been the usual momentum. Moreover, the 2030 MLP hopes to have a healthcare scenario where a woman is motivated and confident in accessing preventive care and screening, knowing she is well-supported from prevention to treatment.
Common objectives under the project are that after implementing its component activities, DepEd Tacloban City Division will be able to (1) promote breast and cervical cancer awareness among DepEd female educators of Tacloban City; (2) establish protocols on prevention and awareness of breast and cervical cancer; and (3) connect them with the local government unit for sustainable programs necessary for diagnostics, treatment, and other breast or cervical cancer management requirements.
Tingog Partylist, a political organization with representation in the House of Representatives that aims to represent the interests of Eastern Visayans, has been a partner of this project since its launch last March 2022 in Tacloban City. The Office of House Speaker Martin Romualdez is also fully supportive of this initiative where the said partnership will not only center on funding the diagnostics and treatment of cancer patients but will also cover further institutionalization of cancer programs in Eastern Visayas and across the archipelago.
“We’re also happy to be part of Mission Leapfrog, and, of course, we are in constant conversation with the representatives from Roche on how we can expand further this project, especially as we try to expand the reach of Tingog to open several Alagang Tingog Centers and you will be hearing more of it in the coming months as we open the centers in several parts of the country in order to cater to our constituents more conveniently. Ang sabi pa po nila Congresswoman Yedda, hindi na po dapat constituents ang lumalapit para maghanap ng tulong, tayo po (mga government offices tulad ng Tingog Partylist) dapat ang lumalapit (sa mga constituents).”
Aside from this partnership and implementation in Tacloban City, the 2030 Mission Leapfrog Project is currently being implemented and adopted in Valenzuela City, Tayabas City, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Office, and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. This is in response to the #ClosetheCareGap for cancer patients by working closely with healthcare ecosystem partners—from patient groups to government units to provide critical services such as early detection and timely intervention.
The project is also supportive of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA)and the Universal Health Care (UHC) law that aims at achieving equitable access to quality and affordable healthcare services for all Filipinos and instilling health consciousness among them.
Roche (Philippines) Inc. continues its promise to work on transformative innovations and solutions focused on providing a significant impact to patients, people, and society. Through these meaningful activities, Roche will expand and strengthen its partnerships and collaborations with the public and private sectors to efficiently shape and provide access to a fully-funded referral healthcare ecosystem.
Innovative solutions and public-private partnerships make Cancer not a death sentence anymore.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)3, cancer was the third leading cause of mortality in the country in 2022, which accounted for 42,497 recorded cases or 10.2% share from January to September 2022. Cancer remains a national health priority in the country with significant implications for individuals, families, communities, and the health system.
However, medical innovations have progressed through the years that make treatment solutions for diseases such as cancer more effective and reach more patients in a timely manner. These advancements also cover easier drug administration for healthcare providers to patients. There is hope for treatment for stage 4 patients even when cancer has metastasized to other organs, even more so if diagnosed early.
With these life-saving medicines to treat many kinds of cancer that are already available locally and the collaboration of public and private sectors, teachers in Tacloban City or women in any part of the country will no longer see cancer as a death sentence.