DBM releases P500-M Cancer Assistance Fund for 2023

DBM releases P500-M Cancer Assistance Fund for 2023

MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday announced that it has released the PHP500 million 2023 Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) to the Department of Health (DOH).

In a press release, DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said this amount is part of the DBM’s comprehensive fund releases at the start of the year.

She said the release of the fund is an affirmation of the government’s commitment to boost the health and welfare of Filipinos suffering from cancer.

“For many years, cancer has been one of the leading causes of death in the country. Sadly, Filipino families, even those in the upper-income brackets, are vulnerable to catastrophic health spending due to high treatment costs and limited coverage of cancer care under public programs,” Pangandaman said.

Citing 2019 estimates, she said around 60 percent of the total public cancer expenditures comes from out-of-pocket payments and private insurance.

“Naiintindihan kong mabigat ‘yon sa bulsa at balikat ng ating mga kababayan (I understand that it’s a heavy expense for our countrymen),” she added.

She said the CAF aims to complement and supplement existing financial support mechanisms for various cancer care and control services that are not yet covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and only partially covered by Malasakit Program.

“I hope we are able to shine a ray of hope to every Filipino battling the disease—the DBM is behind you and wants to give you a fighting chance,” she added.

The CAF will defray outpatient and inpatient cancer control services, including but not limited to, diagnostics, therapeutic procedures and other cancer medicines needed for the treatment and management of cancer and its care-related components.

It also includes funding the needed diagnostics and laboratories in relation to eight priority cancer types namely breast cancer; childhood cancers; gynecologic cancers; liver cancer, including colorectal and other digestive tract cancers; adult blood cancers; head and neck cancers, including thyroid; lung cancer; and prostate, renal, and urinary bladder cancer.

In 2022, the DBM released PHP529.2 million for the CAF.

Of this amount, PHP230.8 million of which was utilized by the DOH. The balance of P298.4 million may still be used until the end of 2023.

The execution of 2023 CAF will be based on the new guidelines to be released soon by the DBM and the DOH.

Cancer is now the third leading cause of death nationwide, with 96 cancer-related deaths reported daily, according to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology. (PNA)

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