Specialized Cancer Care comes to the Philippines with AC Health’s new hospital
Written by: Annelle Tayao-Juego
With the Covid-19 pandemic requiring hospitals to have all hands on deck, attention toward other conditions have somewhat taken a backseat, with patients also hesitating to have themselves treated for fear of contracting the virus.
Conditions such as cancer, for example, have proven to be a prominent figure among the top causes of morbidity and mortality here in the Philippines, with over 150,000 new cases in 2020 alone, according to the World Health Organization, Globocan2020.
Moreover, cancer is now the second leading cause of death, with over 90,000 deaths in the same year—deaths that may have been prevented, had they not been diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, as what happens with most cases.
Responding to the need for more urgent cancer care for Filipinos is the Ayala Corporation (AC) Health Group, which led the groundbreaking yesterday of the country’s first cancer hospital, officially named Healthway Cancer Care Center, in the FTI Complex in Taguig City, a stone’s throw away from Ayala Land’s Arca South Development.
Led by AC Health board chair Fernando Zobel de Ayala, the groundbreaking marks an important milestone for the corporation as they work toward improving cancer care in the country. The 100-bed facility will be the first comprehensive, dedicated cancer hospital in the country that will offer a complete range of cancer services—from screening, diagnosis, treatment to post-cancer care.
To ensure that patients receive the best and most affordable care, AC Health has partnered with Varian-CTSI, an international cancer services provider that has successfully established quality and affordable cancer facilities worldwide.
“Cancer is a critical public health problem with an enormous impact on patients, the families, and the healthcare system at large. There is an urgent need to develop sustainable solutions. We need to increase awareness of the disease through patient education, improve the timeliness of diagnosis through rigorous screening programs, and minimize out-of-pocket cancer expenses through affordable cancer care,” says Zobel.
Healthway Cancer Care Center is expected to start operations by mid-2023. The addition of this specialty cancer hospital, contributed to AC Health’s expansion of its healthcare portfolio, which include Healthway Clinics, Qualimed Hospitals, Generika Drugstores, IE Medica and MedEthix, and the HealthNow mobile app.
Also witness to the groundbreaking were Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano and Health Secretary Francisco T Duque III.
“We are optimistic that the enactment of the NICCA law and various cancer care initiatives of the DOH will help reduce the burden of the disease. Now more than ever, there is a need to provide better avenues for cancer patients to seek consultation and treatment. We are delighted that AC Health will be establishing the first specialized hospital for cancer in the Philippines,” says Duque.
On top of this venture, Ayala also continues its commitment to nation-building through AC Health’s various initiatives. At the same event, the corporation donated 1,000 doses of flu vaccines to the local government of Taguig. Paolo Borromeo, AC Health President and CEO, spearheaded the ceremonial turnover of flu vaccines to Cayetano during the cancer hospital’s groundbreaking event.
The donation is part of #BrigadangAyala, the Ayala Group’s united contribution to serving people and communities nationwide. It is also the Ayala Group’s integrated response to its almost two century-old commitment to national development by doing various social development and corporate social responsibility initiatives—ranging from disaster relief and response, assistance for public education, championing of social enterprises, and public health advocacy, among others.
“With the donation of the flu vaccines through the #BrigadangAyala, we are optimistic that we will be able to lessen the burden of influenza, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We target to administer these vaccines for our priority beneficiaries namely, the Philippine National Police, Traffic Management Office, Barangay Health Workers, Bureau of Fire Protection and other frontliners, “ says Mayor Cayetano.
Aside from the donation of flu vaccines, AC Health has worked closely with the City of Taguig to augment their COVID-19 vaccination efforts for their constituents across the A1-A5 priority groups.
“The Taguig City Government has always been an advocate in promoting healthcare for their constituents and many Filipinos in need. Their various programs, from cancer care initiatives to vaccination efforts, are a testament to their commitment to provide quality and accessible health services. The Ayala Group is delighted to support the City of Taguig in its efforts to protect the health of its constituents,” says Borromeo.
At the onset of the pandemic, AC Health has been leading the Ayala Group’s COVID-19 response initiatives. It has worked closely with the DOH, IATF, and local governments to implement protocols across the group and spearhead key milestones, from setting up mega-isolation facilities and testing labs to securing vaccines for employees and other stakeholders.
As of July 13, AC Health has already administered more than 193,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to its employees, priority groups across LGUs and partner companies.
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