MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/3 June) – Board member Marivic Montesclaros, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s committee on health, has filed a resolution urging the Department of Health to conduct a series of screening for cervical cancer in the province to encourage the women to avail of the newly formulated vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Montesclaros told MindaNews so far cervical cancer screening is available only among private practitioners and inaccessible to most women.
She cited the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network of the Philippines, which declared that cervical cancer is the second leading type of cancer in the country killing one in every four women.
HPV leads to cervical cancer.
She said the screening should be conducted for free to increase interest among women to seek medical attention on HPV.
Montesclaros said the Provincial Health Office must take the lead in the campaign against HPV and cervical cancer in the province.
She said in her resolution that the provincial government is duty bound to respond to the threat of cervical cancer risking the women of the province. She said the provincial government through the PHO should call upon the appropriate agency to take necessary steps “within their mandate and competence.”
Montesclaros said the Magna Carta of Women or Republic Act 9710 has provided for women’s right to health through “comprehensive, culture sensitive, and gender responsive” health services and programs covering all stages of a woman’s life cycle.
She said that these programs and services must address the major reasons of women’s mortality and morbidity in the province.
“The women in the provinces must be afforded these services,” she stressed.
The DOH has announced in May they were set to give free cervical cancer screening to women in observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
The DOH planned to give once-a-week free cervical cancer screening in May to women aged 30-45 years old in its 58 accredited hospitals nationwide.
Montesclaros said it is necessary to put up a provincial mechanism to help women prevent cervical cancer through campaigns in Bukidnon’s 20 towns, two cities, and 464 barangays through the Rural Health Units (RHUs). (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)