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PIA Press Release
2009/10/24

DOH strengthens children and mother health programs

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (24 October) -- The health department is advocating various health programs, for children and mothers in line with the celebration of the of Children's Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Maternal and Child Health Month this October.

Center for Health and Development (CHD-CAR CHD-CAR Health Operations Division Chief, Dr Amelita Pangilinan stressed in a kapihan forum Wednesday that breast cancer remains the most common cancer affecting women nationwide. Thus, the continuous advocacy for the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Pangilinan women to practice self-observation every month, through SSS or "Sariling Salat sa Suso," and for any sign of abnormality they should immediately seek early consultation or visit health center facilities. She also advises women to maintain a healthy lifestyle, have a balanced nutrition and avoid fatty foods, which according to experts are feeding cancers.

According to Pangilinan, breast cancer involves the "rule of third" - there is one-third chance that it can be prevented, one-third chance that it can be cured if detected and treated early and only a third chance of going into a late stage, wherein only a pain relief can be administer.

For children's health, the DOH also administered the second round of Garantisadong Pambata (GP) program, from October 13 -19. Pangilinan said the GP is already an institutionalized program of the health department, an intervention aimed to improve children's (under five years old) mortality rate, in accordance with the country's commitment to the international Millennium Development Goal. DOH also extended the program to the children in evacuation centers affected by typhoon "Pepeng."

In line with the celebration of Newborn Screening (NBS) Week last October 1 to 9, CHD-CAR, in partnership with the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) conducted NBS.

NBS coordinator Dr Eleanor Cuarte reiterated the importance of NBS in saving the lives of children, especially from sickness and disease that can be inherited. She explained that through NBS, certain diseases could be detected at birth and can be treated outright. There are five identified diseases that can be detected and prevented through NBS, which could help save the lives of children or prevent mental retardation.

According to Cuarte, the NBS is fast gaining recognition. Statistics shows that when NBS started in early 2000, only 10% of the 6,000 (yearly average) being born in BGHMC undergoes the said screening. As of September this year, 49% of babies are subjected to NBS.

CHD-CAR Director Mryna Cabotaje also explained that the Health Department issued a memorandum, for all hospitals to offer NBS or otherwise they cannot renew their license to operate. Cabotaje also stressed that NBS is also now covered by PhilHealth, under its newborn services package. For non-PhilHealth members, the DOH is trying to augment hospitals to cover them.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cabotaje announced that said that Cordillera is on track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target by 2015.

She informed said infant and under-5 child mortality has been reduced. But maternal health needs a little push. On HIV/AIDS, we need to double our effort, kailangan mas pag-igihan pa ang pag-advocate sa safe sex at pagpapa-konsulta ng mga tao," Cabotaje added. (PIA) [top]

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