ICanServe Foundation joined the call for urgent and united action on cancer care at the Philippine National Cancer Summit (PNCS) held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Quezon City from February 23 to 24, 2023. The summit was organized by the Philippine College of Surgeons Cancer Commission Foundation (PCS-CanCom) in partnership with Philippine Cancer Society and Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh), of which ICanServe is a founding member.
Over 1,500 participants representing different stakeholder groups in the country’s cancer community registered for the two-day conference which carried the theme “Bridging Gaps in Cancer Cure Through 3Cs (Communication, Complementation, Collaboration).” Gathering healthcare professionals, patient groups, national and local government representatives, and the business sector, the event called for a whole-of-society approach in the implementation of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) of 2019. ICanServe spokesperson Bibeth Orteza hosted the opening day plenary forum.
In her welcome remarks, ICanServe founding president Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, who also serves as CCPh vice president of Internal Affairs and director of PCS-CanCom, called on participants to drop their egos and present a united front against cancer, saying “If we don’t collaborate, we will always be stuck with pilot projects that will never scale. We have to map everyone’s initiatives and see how they are all connected. The more private and public groups collaborate, the wider and bigger the impact. We must step on the gas. No times for excuses.”
PNCS featured various projects from around the country that help address the gaps in cancer care. Among those highlighted as best practice models for local governments was ICanServe’s flagship breast cancer control program, Ating Dibdibin, as implemented by its partner city, Taguig. Launched in the country in 2008, and in Taguig City in 2012, the program institutionalizes the promotion of early detection, early diagnosis, access to timely and quality care, supportive care, palliative care, and patient navigation via local ordinance.
Taguig City Health Office executive assistant for Health, Dr. Cecille Montales, concluded her presentation on Ating Dibdibin by saying “We will indeed continue to evolve to strengthen the program, save more lives, and become a model for many more local government units in the Philippines and abroad.”
In order to build the program’s data and digital infrastructure under its new Circle of Life project, ICanServe has partnered with digital healthcare ecosystem platform Dashlabs.ai. Presented at PNCS by Dashlabs CEO Bryan Giger, this next phase of Ating Dibdibin, aims to use data and analytics to identify gaps and design targeted interventions. Circle of Life is made possible by the Novartis Alliance and Partnerships for Patient Innovation and Solutions (APPIS) Innovator Program, with Taguig serving as its pilot site.