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PhilHealth to prioritize coverage for cervical cancer under Universal Health Care
PhilHealth to prioritize coverage for cervical cancer under Universal Health Care
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PhilHealth to prioritize coverage for cervical cancer under Universal Health Care
by Daylight Abas09 June 2023
Photo courtesy: PhilHealth

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will handle cervical cancer screening through Konsultasyong Sulit at Tama (Konsulta), which will have a Z Benefits Package for cervical cancer, with benefit claims totaling P31 million pesos since 2015.

According to PhilHealth chief Emmenual R. Ledesma Jr., their office is ready to assist all women suffering from the aforementioned sickness, and the state health insurer is doing everything possible to provide financial protection for Filipinos in need of quality medical care.

According to the Department of Health, cervical cancer is the second-most frequent malignancy among women aged 15 to 44.

This condition is characterized by abnormal bleeding or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, bleeding after intercourse, chronic back, leg, or hip pain, and unexplained weight loss.

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The World Health Organization recommends cervical cancer screening for women over 30 or sexually active women. However, the WHO also recommends human papillomavirus (HPV) tests for cervical cancer screening over cytology (i.e., a pap smear).

WHO also added that the first defense against HPV is vaccination, and the main target is girls aged nine (9) to fourteen (14). It is also said that boys and other women are secondary targets of this vaccine.

Meanwhile, in a recent report by Professor Dindo Maralit of the Stratbase ADR Institute along with some other cancer societies and the Cancer-Free Movement, their group discussed some evidence-based and cost-effective interventions that can help reduce the cases of cervical cancer in the Philippines and officially launch the Zero Cervical Cancer Movement.

PhilHealth recognizes the efforts of these groups to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer further if not completely eliminate this type of deadly disease, through boosting immunization, vaccination, and treatment control programs and fully supports their projects in collaboration with other sectors.

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In response to their call to further expand the coverage of the Z benefits package for cervical cancer and include HPV screening in the newly introduced Konsulta Plus Package,

"Kami ay nagsisikap na lalo pang palawakin ang benepisyo upang makatugon sa pangangailangang medikal ng aming mga miyembro pati na ang kanilang mga dependents," said Ledesma.

Kasama ang cancer screening sa Konsulta primary care package samantalang ang paggagamot sa naturang sakit ay sakop ng Z Benefits. Ngayong taon, kasama sa mas pinalawak na benepisyo ang cervical cancer bukod pa sa ilang mga piling Z Benefits packages," she added.

Currently, PhilHealth has two Z Benefits packages that cover the complete course of treatment for cervical cancer for stages IA1, IA2, and IIA1, where the benefit included is P120,000 for chemoradiation with cobalt and brachytherapy (low dosage) and P175,000 for chemoradiation with a linear accelerator and brachytherapy (high dosage).

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Ledesma emphasized the importance of having more healthcare providers for the Z Benefits Package for cervical cancer to ensure that more patients can use such benefits.

"Ang PhilHealth ay nakatuon sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa mas marami pang healthcare providers upang maging ka-partner namin sa pagbibigay ng abot-kayang serbisyong medikal para sa mga miyembro at dependents na dinapuan ng nasabing sakit," she explained.

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