Groups offer hope for M’nao kids with cancer-A A +A
Thursday, September 19, 2013
INDIGENT children diagnosed with cancer can now have access to health care and treatment at the newly opened satellite child cancer center inside Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).
The center is a collaborative effort of Davao Children's Cancer Fund Inc. (DCCFI) and World Child Cancer (WCC) and was established to fulfill its mission in bringing hope, promote better survival rates and achieve excellent, holistic care for children with cancer through advocacy, research and environmental protection, said Dr. Mae Dolendo, WCC program director.
In a press conference held at the Ford vehicle showroom in Barangay Kauswagan Wednesday, Dolendo said that childhood cancer is highly curable when detected earlier.
Dolendo said the DCCFI, a non-profit charity institution for children with cancer operating in Davao, has decided to expand to other areas in Mindanao so they could cater to more children.
Dolendo said that their pro-children advocacy will also promote awareness and education among parents as majority of children with cancer in Mindanao have only been identified during the late stages of the disease, and this has contributed to prolonged suffering and poorer survival rate among victims.
She said every year about 1,000 children are diagnosed with cancer in Mindanao alone, however, about 80 percent of these children do not even get to see a doctor due to reasons of poverty, lack of information or access to a specialist.
To serve terminally-ill children, Dolendo said their main center in Davao has partnered with the government and different private entities helping them in shouldering the expensive cost of treatment.
Dolendo said their greatest benefactor is the MCMI, a group of companies to which Ford Motors belongs, which recognized its corporate social responsibility and has chosen to support the advocacy for indigent children with cancer ever since they started the advocacy in 2004.
She said both DCCFI and MCMI have agreed to work jointly to advocate for an early child cancer detection campaign.
MCMI president Willy Q. Tee Ten, who graced the occasion, said as part of their obligation the DCCFI is to display the information education materials in their auto showrooms.
Ten said part of their income and proceeds of their charity events will go directly to the program.
“Because of our partners we have come a long way in helping more children with the catastrophic disease,” he said.
At present, the main center in Davao, which caters to almost 200 children, is well supported by a multi-disciplinary team from St. Jude Children's Hospital, in Tennessee, USA and National University Hospital, Singapore, dedicated to the holistic care of children with cancer.
Dolendo said the collaboration, which includes manpower support, training and technology transfer as well as organizational development, has significantly improved survival for children with cancer at Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao.
“We even have a House of Hope, a transient home for children with cancer living in far off places in Mindanao,” she said.
She said the HoH have served about 1,000 children and caregivers since its inauguration in 2007, and it also provides a clean and healing environment for the children affected with cancer.
As for NMMC center, she said it will surely be developed in the future just like the main center.
Dr. Fernando Douglas Go, a Hematologist who’s in charge of the center, said they have already seen several children afflicted with the disease but somehow did not survive because of lack of facilities and intervention.
“There is a lot going on at NMMC now, renovations and upgrading in order to cater to more patients,” Go said.
Go said indigent patients need not worry because they will be socialized.
Dolendo said the network’s satellite facilities are all connected to the central network so children diagnosed with cancer will no longer travel far.
“They will be given continuous treatment or even survive the deadly stage,” she said.
Dolendo added that there were cases where cancer children were cured of the disease because they have been detected earlier. She advised to seek early intervention before it becomes hopeless.
“Although we have taken great strides since we took the cudgels of childhood cancer advocacy, the challenges remains great knowing that many will be given hope to survive,” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 19, 2013.