First PH hospital focusing on cancer care opens in Taguig
Cancer patients in the country may yet to find some relief from the heavy financial burden entailed by this third leading cause of death in the country, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assuring them of government-funded assistance.
“We recognize that there are great financial burdens to cancer treatment, so to ease hardships on cancer patients and provide equitable access to cancer care, we have established the cancer assistance fund, which will pay for the cost of cancer diagnostics and laboratories not covered by PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.),” the President said Friday, as he inaugurated the “first hospital in the Philippines dedicated to cancer care.”
World-class, lower cost
Healthway Cancer Care Hospital (HCCH) in Taguig City “can revolutionize the cancer care service industry in the (country),” Mr. Marcos said, referring to the facility’s “modern state of the art equipment and leading medical professionals and oncologists.”
The hospital, he added, “will positively reflect the country’s growing potential as the leading health-care destination in Asia.”
The opening of HCCH, the President said, also highlights the government’s “strong partnership” with the private sector in strengthening the country’s health-care system, which is aligned with the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan and the Integrated Cancer Program, that are geared toward his administration’s goal of universal health care.
Paolo Borromeo, president and CEO of AC Health, one of the investors of HCCH, noted the many gaps in cancer care in the Philippines, with “over 100,000 cases of cancer a year diagnosed and at least another 100,000 undiagnosed.” Many of those who were diagnosed were at a late stage, and were left untreated due to the massive financial burden, he said.
“We built this hospital to help address these challenges,” Borromeo said, adding that HCCH aims to provide world-class treatment at a lower cost. Patients can avail themselves of top-of-the-line diagnostics equipment and comprehensive outpatient chemo facilities. In-patient and palliative services are also offered.
According to its website, HCCH provides a complete range of cancer services, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and postcancer care. The hospital has 18 chemotherapy infusion units, two linear accelerators (Linacs), and diagnostic and imaging machines. It has a 100-bed capacity, with four-bed wards separated by walls for added privacy.
Borromeo said the hospital was able to expand its reach as well with its “network of five hospitals, 16 outpatient centers and over 200 clinics, and the KonsultaMD telehealth platform with its over three-and-a-half million subscribers.”
The facility can therefore “screen more, detect earlier and treat better,” he said.
Centers of excellence
In a video presentation, doctors working at the hospital said they had developed four centers of excellence on the following types of cancer: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, and lung cancer.
The centers allow patients to get complete treatment in the hospital, thus saving them time and effort, the doctors added.
“We’ve taken efforts to make sure we provide end-to-end services to make it easier for the patients and their families,” said Dr. Rizzy Alejandro, chief public health officer of AC Health.
Borromeo said HCCH had also partnered with international organizations, such as Varian Siemens and Cancer Treatment Service International, to provide “world-class” expertise in cancer services, diagnostics and radiation.
Its partnership with Roche, MSD and AstraZeneca likewise makes it easier for patients to avail themselves of the latest therapies and medicines at more affordable rates.