July 19, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong and City Health Officer Rowena Galpo entered into a memorandum of agreement with Roche Philippines, Inc. represented by its General Manager, Dr. Diana Edralin and Dr. Gay Buliyat of the Outreach Committee Baguio Chapter on Project Extension for Commission Health Outcomes (ECHO).
The agreement affirms the commitment of the city government for private-public partnerships to improve Baguio’s health outcomes including continued collaboration partnerships between the local government and the city’s patient groups.
The Project ECHO launching and MOA signing was held, Dec. 21. Magalong and Drs. Edralin and Galpo emphasized the importance of partnership, cooperation, and courage in fighting the scourge of breast cancer where the Philippines has the highest diagnoses incidence in Asia.  
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women aged 35 to 54 years in the country where mortality rate is at 61 percent as compared to 53 percent globally due to lack of awareness and lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities, Edralin said.
She said Project ECHO aims to help build the public healthcare system using a global initiative telementoring program designed to create virtual communities of learners and a knowledge network.
“It is using virtual technology towards improving survival and quality of life through early diagnosis,” Edralin added.                   
She commended the city government, through the mayor’s leadership, for being a trailblazer in this endeavor with its ongoing Smart city initiatives and making healthcare accessibility one of its core focus.
The mayor said the local government will continue to equip its Health Services Office and empower its barangays in the prevention and early diagnosis of breast cancer incidents with the ultimate goal of saving lives.
“We will explore all partnerships with the private sector to make sure that we can expand this to other cancerous diseases creating supportive partnerships to address these types of diseases. Now that we have our Smart city system and platform, hopefully we will be able to acquire the right digital healthcare system to be integrated into the platform,” he said.
Rosanna Gutierrez in her testimony emphasized the importance of early detection of the cancer that ultimately saved her life.
Dr. Anand Sunit of the Project ECHO Institute, Project Executive Director, India, provided a background of Project ECHO while Philippine Society of Medical Oncologists President, Dr. Arnold John Uson and Outreach Chair, Dr. Arthur Jason Go delivered their messages of commitment to the project. – Gaby B. Keith