Financing for cancer control in the Philippines
Cancer is among the leading causes of death in the Philippines. According to the Global Cancer Observatory, there were approximately 141,021 new cancer cases and over 86,337 cancer deaths in the Philippines in 2018 alone. In response to this, the government is implementing a National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), creating a statutory requirement to prioritise this complex area of medicine. The Act addresses gaps in cancer care and integrates policies and programs for its prevention, detection, management, and survivorship or end of life care.
This is a positive step forward, but challenges remain in implementation. The cancer law comes as the country is also implementing new universal health coverage (UHC) legislation. The UHC law is a significant step forward for health in the Philippines and promises wide access to healthcare and a long-awaited boost for healthcare spending. Yet the relationship between the two pieces of legislation, and the question of how much focus there will be on cancer control within the rollout of a wider UHC system, remains unclear, even as these new laws become simultaneously active.