Lila-MSF in Tondo, Manila

The District of Tondo, an urban poor municipality is situated North-west of Manila, Philippines, known for its slum area where people are at a high risk of contracting diseases including HPV and cervical cancer. 
The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or “Doctors Without Borders” teamed up with Likhaan: Center for Women’s Health Inc., now called Lila, a non-government organizationwhich provides direct health care services to women in marginalized communities. 

MSF is an international, independent medical humanitarian organization that provides medical assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from healthcare. Together, the organizations has mobilized a comprehensive cervical cancer prevention program, with the mentorship of CECAP Philippines and Jhpiego – affiliate of Johns Hopkins University to provide better vaccination, screening (SVA) and treatments in the district. The clinic is focused on reproductive health  services and a learning center that will improve access and increase utilization of quality comprehensive women’s care especially for prevention to save more women’s lives.

In collaboration with the Manila Health Department and the Department of Health, vaccination services against HPV was initiated by MSF on February 2017. With help from the barangay, people were made aware of this program through SMS messaging, house visits, public announcements, tarpaulin posting, education session in barangay hall. The results were
25127 Vaccinated girls (1st dose) and 22096Vaccinated girls (2nd dose, 87.93%).

To better reach women in need for screening and treatment, the groups arranged SVA trainings, and launched a mobile clinic to visit the district’s barangay. The Clinical Skills Mentorship Training for SVA by CECAP Philippines was held on September 2016, November 2017 and October 23-27, 2018. Other trainings (SSVs & Skype training) mentored by a Jhpiego accredited trainer also took place on October 2016. So far, three batches have been trained with an accredited staff to do stand alone activity. Through the site supervisory visit (SSV) the center and the trainees are regularly monitored quarterly and audited for quality assurance.Meanwhile, the mobile clinic service drove its way around different barangays in Tondo on a bi-weekly basis. By May 2018, it was upgraded to 3 times a week. 

In Summary, since starting services in October 2016, until 30 June 2018, CECAP has performed:

  • 407 Education Sessions with 17,885 women reached, in collaboration with MSD/POGS
  • 3,442 Screenings (2,924 VIA + 518 Pap smear)
  • 150 Cryotherapies (5% of all screenings)
  • 11 Treatment referred to PGH
  • 6 Referrals ongoing in PGH for further follow-up.

With the impact of the program in the district, most especially its mobile services, Lila and MSF plan to increase the number of mobile clinic activities in Tondo in the future. There will be continued cervical cancer prevention activities in Tondo and San Andres Clinic, SSV for all batches of trainees, and HPV vaccination for girls aged 9-13 years old. 


Save the Cervix – The First Step

The Save the Cervix project is an informational website, developed by multimedia artists Lea Llave, and Janielle Sabio, that seeks to educate people about cervical cancer, the burden it brings to women in different aspects of their lives, and to emphasize the need for prevention, promoting methods such as HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.  It provides general knowledge on cervical cancer such as its cause, statistics, symptoms, stages, prevention, and treatment. The website also has a list of health facilities where people can get screened or vaccinated. Aside from word content, it has 3 episodes of videos featuring stories of women who have or had cervical cancer. 

On the 30th of May, 2018, the project launching event Save the Cervix: The First Step, was held at the Grand Ballroom A, Palms Country Club, Alabang, Muntinlupa, with the goal of opening the website for public use, and tackling cervical cancer awareness and prevention.

The event was sponsored by the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network (CECAP), and had more than 60 attendees, including potential sponsors, doctors, cervical cancer patients, survivors, and their families and friends. It  was hosted by the proponents of the project themselves – Lea Llave, and Janielle Sabio, and had key speakers namely CECAP chairperson, Dr. Cecilia Llave; Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) Director, Mr. Graeme Lade; and Cervical Cancer Survivor and prominent advocate, Mrs. Josephine De La Cruz.

Registration for the event started at 6pm, and attendees were encouraged to write their messages at the commitment booth managed by Dr. Stephanie Dimatatac. The program started with a doxology, followed by a “getting-to-know” portion headed by Dr. Martha Parocco. After was the Dinner accompanied with singing. When the program resumed, Dr. Llave took the stage to discuss the disease, CECAP’s advocacy and its efforts towards a cervical cancer-free Philippines. Consecutively, The Save the Cervix project was introduced to the crowd through a demo reel of the website, and the presentation of all 3 videos about a cervical cancer patient/survivors’ family life, work life, and social life. Doctor and cervical cancer patient/survivors interviewees involved in the project were acknowledged, and given a certificate, and a simple gift as a token of appreciation. In between, ACCF Director Graeme Lade, and cervical cancer survivor/advocate  Josephine De La Cruz, gave their speeches. The event concluded with the proponents expressing their gratitude towards those who made Save the Cervix and its launching possible.