Deadly measles and dengue outbreaks occurred recently all over the country. And more and more women are also dying from cervical cancer, with about 11 deaths daily. These facts are unfortunate despite the glaring reality that these diseases are preventable. This could be owing to the fact that vaccine confidence rates have plummeted in the country in recent years, with rates going further down due to misinformation. This is what MSD in the Philippines aims to do: to provide the Filipino moms with accurate, fact-based information that she needs to help her make the best decisions for her family’s health, especially that of her children.
As a way to give parents their best fighting chance to shield their families, particularly their children, from vaccine-preventable sicknesses such as cervical cancer, an advocacy campaign called “Guard Against HPV” was launched recently at Seda Vertis North in QC.
Guard Against HPV, a multi-stakeholder backed campaign that involves medical societies, the government and families and communities, aims to spread much-needed awareness and understanding of the facts, implications, burdens and preventive strategies surrounding the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the main cause linked to cervical cancer. The campaign’s main mission is to back the public with sound information and correct knowledge gathered through scientific research, insights and thought-provoking dialogues from and between all involved stakeholders, professionals, and even with the involvement of the media. It aims to prove that a crippling global problem like HPV-linked cancers can be cured, as long as everyone involved is well informed.
Guard Against HPV’s new ambassador, broadcast journalist, health advocate, and mom-of-three Niña Corpuz co-moderated and facilitated an informative panel discussion, alongside Dr. Erwin De Mesa, president of the Philippine Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology, during the campaign’s launch. Present during the program’s panel discussants were Dr. Cecilia Llave of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network of the Philippines (CECAP), Dr. Roberto “Jun” Pascual of the Philippine Dermatological Society, Dr. Fatima Gimenez of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP), Karina Ramos of Digital Filipina and Jesusa Rafanan and Carriza Joyce Banta of the Lingkod E.R.-UST program. Dr. Llave emphasized: “99.7-percent of HPV viruses cause cervical cancer, but it’s also one of the only cancers that are vaccine-preventable.”
Dr. Pascual, meanwhile, reminded attendees that 80-percent of all sexually active individuals will contract at least one strain of the HPV in their lifetime, which may or may not turn into deadly cancer.
Although Nina Corpuz and Karina Ramos agreed that vaccines were quite the expense, they emphasized that it’s extremely necessary. “Set aside a budget for it,” encouraged the digital Filipina creator. “Talk to your husbands about it.”
Family health, after all, is a far better investment than material things. Rounding off the informative panel discussion and myth-debunking activities was the unveiling of Guard Against HPV’s emblematic Health Shield. The shield symbolizes the continued commitment of MSD and several stakeholders to “innovate and invent for life,” and to keep helping the community in fighting against vaccine-preventable diseases such as HPV.
With additional reports: Harmony Adiao, The Philippine Star
Mommy Rockin’ In Style