Valenzuelano women can now avail of anti-cervical cancer vaccines at discounted price through the “Valenzuela’s Big Fight Against Cervical Cancer” in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Bravehearts Foundation.
More than 200 women were initially given shots of the HPV vaccines during the launching of the program last week. They were given access to the vaccines at only Php 1,700 per shot which is half of its regular price of Php 3,400 per vial/shot. The 50% price cut shall be shouldered by the 2nd District Councilor Lorie Natividad-Borja, Vice Mayor Eric Martinez, 1st District Representative Congressman REX Gatchalian and City Mayor Sherwin T. Gatchalian.
Three shots of the vaccines are required to take full effect. After the initial shot, a month interval is required before the second shot, and then a four-month interval before the last shot.
The launch was preceded by lectures and testimonial sessions aimed at educating women about the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.
Councilor Borja stressed the importance of taking the vaccines not only for oneself but also for one’s family. “Cervical cancer is the type of disease that attacks not only the reproductive organs of a woman but also her emotional foundations. For now, this is the only treatable kind of cancer and we are glad to offer this to my fellow Valenzuelanos at a fraction of its original cost.”
Cervical cancer is usually caused by infection of a chronic and persistent cancer-causing type of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is the 2nd leading cancer among women in the Philippines. The Department of Health (DOH) estimates around 7,277 new cases and 3,807 deaths due to the disease occur yearly, with about two-thirds of cases diagnosed in the advanced stages.
Screening plays an important role in decreasing the incidence and mortality of cancer, that is why the Valenzuela City Health Department conducts activities with regards to advocacy, prevention and treatment of the disease. All Health Centers conduct lectures on cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening using either acetic acid wash method, also known as Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) ,or pap smear are done monthly at all Health Centers. A patient only has to visit their respective Health Center for assessment and she will be scheduled for a screening, using the method of her choice. Acetic acid wash method is free of charge, pap smear, on the other hand, will cost her a minimal amount of 50 pesos.
The City’s 52 nurses and 78 midwives are trained to conduct the most reliable and practical way to diagnose early onset of the disease -- the acetic acid wash and pap smear -- and their knowledge are being updated regularly through any seminar available.
Mayor WIN expressed his gratitude to the organizers for sharing with Valenzuelano women and health workers the wonderful new method of preventing cervical cancer. “Cancer takes lives, hopes and dreams quickly. The development of this vaccine is a miracle and a gift from God. On this note, let us all thank God for it and hope for more miracles in the field of medicine,” he concluded.
GSK is the leading producer of cervical cancer vaccines in the Philippines. GSK’s cervical cancer vaccine is indicated for both young and older women, 10 years old onwards, provides 100 percent protection against human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18, which together are responsible for over 70 percent of cervical cancer cases in the Asia Pacific. In 2007, they made a pioneering move of reducing the original price of their anti-cervical cancer vaccines by 60%.
Bravehearts Foundation, on the other hand, is a multi-disciplinary crusade for cervical cancer prevention and treatment led by the Cancer Institute Foundation (CIF), Inc. and the Cervical Cancer Prevention (CECAP) Network in the commitment to empower Filipino women against cervical cancer by increasing their awareness about the disease and providing them access to treatments.
Valenzuelano women who want to avail of the vaccines may inquire the Office of Councilor Lorie Natividad-Borja at 294-0229 or 352-1000 local 1540 and look for Lot or Kathleen.