Cervical cancer remains one of the most common cancers and causes of cancer-related death in women. Globally, it is the fourth most frequent cancer among women with more than 85% of the cervical cancer burden occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In 2020, it was estimated there were 604,000 new cases worldwide and 91.5% of the 342,000 deaths occurred in LMICs.
In the Philippines, cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among women, with about 8,000 new cases diagnosed each year. As of 2020, the age-standardized annual incidence rate is 15.2 per 100,000 women, while the mortality rate is 7.9 per 100,000 women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are proven and cost-effective measures for eliminating cervical cancer, but to date, have not been widely implemented in regions of the world where the disease burden is highest. These measures must be scaled to national levels and delivered using health service platforms that are sensitive to women’s needs, their social circumstances, and the personal, cultural, social, structural, and economic barriers hindering their access to health services.
In 2020, the WHO released the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer as a public health problem. These priority strategies are aimed to achieve by 2030 and included the following:
- 90% of girls should be fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by 15 years of age by 2030;
- 70% of women are screened with a high-performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age; and
- 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with precancer treated, and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed).
As also recommended by the WHO, the said Global Strategy will require (a) political support from international and local leaders; (b) coordinated cooperation among multisectoral partners; (c) broad support for equitable access in the context of universal health coverage; (d) effective resource mobilization; (e) health system strengthening; and (f) vigorous health promotion at all levels.
Aligned with the above strategies and recommendations, there is a need for the country to scale up the implementation of evidence-based and cost-effective interventions. It is in this regard that the Stratbase ADR Institute, in partnership with Jhpiego Philippines, Cancer Coalition of the Philippines, and Universal Healthcare (UHC) Watch, organized a hybrid town hall discussion entitled, “Achieving a Nation Free of Cervical Cancer: Launch of the Philippine Cervical Cancer Elimination Movement”.
This forum gathered key stakeholders to discuss evidence-based and cost-effective interventions that will scale up the elimination of cervical cancer in the Philippines and to officially launch the Zero Cervical Cancer Movement.
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute
Keynote Address: Importance of Stakeholders’ Advocacies in the Elimination of Cervical Cancer in the Philippines
Dr. Efren Domingo
President, Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS)
Current Programs of the DOH in Curbing the Cervical Cancer Cases in the Country
Dr. Jan Aura Laurelle Llevado
Division Chief, Cancer Control Division | Disease Prevention & Control Bureau, Department of Health (DOH)
Scaling the Cervical Cancer Elimination Efforts in the Philippines
Dr. Ingrid Magnata
Country Program Manager, Jhpiego Philippines;
Strategies Lead, Scaling Up Cervical Cancer Elimination through Secondary Strategies (SUCCESS) Project in the Philippines
WHO’s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Eliminate Cervical Cancer
Dr. Rui De Jesus
Representative, Philippine Country Office,
World Health Organization (WHO)
Reactions from Stakeholders
Dr. Fatima Gimenez
President, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines;
Chair, Committee on Immunization, Phil. Pediatric Society