Monday, September 6, 2010

GSK and Local Government Teamed Up For Cervical Cancer Advocacy

San Fernando City Hall
September 6, 2010. San Fernando, Pampanga. 500 health workers in Pampanga were recognized for their modern act of heroism. To reward their acts, they will be given free cervical cancer vaccine. This is also in line for the local government of San Fernando to celebrate their Women's Week.
First recipient of the vaccines

For women, second to breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second most common female cancer in the Philippines today according to the Department of Health. Known as a silent killer because of it's lack of symptoms, one of the known effects of cervical cancer is pelvic pain and bleeding in the woman's genital area after sexual contact. An estimated 7,277 new cases are reported every year – a number that is said to inaccurately represent the whole population, considering that the surveys to determine the estimate were conducted only in Rizal, Cebu, and Davao. There are estimated cases of 12 deaths daily in the Philippines due to cervical cancer. One of the ways to detect cervical cancer is through pap smear procedure. Cervical cancer is caused by human papilloma virus infection or HPV and it can be transmitted between skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. It can be also be transmitted if the family already had history of cervical cancer. However, the cervical cancer vaccine is not a guarantee of eliminating cervical cancer but prevention because it only produces antibodies. I may sound preachy here but another thing to prevent cervical cancer is not being involved sexually with more than one partner. Even wearing condoms is not a guarantee. It's not because of values but abstinence or to wait after getting married is still the best logical solution.
A "badge" for Cervical Cancer vaccine

However, the vaccination for cervical cancer doesn't come cheap. Since lives are at stake, the local government of San Fernando, with the leadership of Mayor Oscar Rodriguez partnered with GlaxoSmithKline Philippines since they also share the same advocacy to rid of cervical cancer. At the grounds of San Fernando City Hall during the opening of their Women's Week Festivities, the city halls officials were oriented and briefed about cervical cancer by Rural Health Director, Dr. Rey delos Reyes. Celebrity Cervical Cancer advocate Pia Magalona graced us with her presence and also shared her insights about cervical cancer. Besides vaccination, education in health care is also a priority. The Women's Week is about empowering women and the advocacy for cervical cancer just fit in for this festivities. This is a great initiative from one local government for others to follow example from it. At the event, I also witnessed an actual cervical cancer vaccination there given to a local San Fernando youth. It only took few minutes for it to make an injection using a disposable syringe. Then, she was applied the trademark band aid for the injected area .A pain from the needle is a small price to pay for assurance of prevention of cervical cancer. Then, everyone, especially the women present were given brochures containing information about cervical cancer and a customized baller band from Laban Ni Maria, a group dedicated to cervical cancer advocacy.

Promoting Awareness
This initiative can be promoted further if you can have the same initiative to participate for others to follow and the first step is to get yourself educated. There's a saying from one of my childhood cartoons series, "And knowing is half a battle." The scary part of this is that half of the number of cases may die within 5 years because not all women were educated on how to protect themselves from the disease. Time maybe is not on your side if you are ignorant to this until it is too late. Another thing to do is go to your nearest health center or consult your family doctor. If you are a student, talk to your school physician. You can also suggest this to your local baranggay council as a start. If you have a position in school, office, government, church, organization, or any institution you are affiliated with, you can also initiate the same program.
Knowing about cervical cancer

As a man, I may be immune from cervical cancer but it can also affect my love ones. It may be my mother, my sisters, my girlfriend, my niece in the future or any friends and relatives that I know and it could also be someone you know and cared about. The important thing here is to also show concern and support in any way we can do to help them out. It is important that we seat this one and talk about it. Most of the time, it always pays to listen.
San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez during press briefing about cervical cancer

More Facts about Cervical Cancer:
510, 000  World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimate of new cervical cancer cases annually worldwide.
288, 000  yearly deaths around the world because of cervical cancer.
80  percent of cervical cancer cases found in developing countries in the world.
(Information From World Health Organization)

Click the link to know more about GSK's Cervical Cancer vaccine
To know more about GlaxoSmithKline Philippines
More information about cervical cancer

1 comment:

  1. This is sweet! Thanks for sharing this, more women should know about the dangers of cervical cancer.