This December, Johnson & Johnson Philippines Inc. (JJPI) unveiled a customized mobile hematology and oncology treatment unit to members of the press.
The mini bus, dubbed as the “Red Van” was donated by JJPI to the Andres Soriano Foundation, which supports the Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Cancer Institute.
This is a first for the multinational manufacturing company, which is known for its corporate social responsibility initiatives.
“As a company dedicated to caring for Filipino families, we make sure to care for all our stakeholders in every life stage and every need state,” shares Dr. Erwin Benedicto, senior manager of JJPI’s Scientific Affairs and Medical Compliance department.
He further adds, “That is why we donated the red van to the Andres Soriano Foundation, to help our indigent patients, PGH, at the same time do an outreach program to our community areas where we could help also a lot of patients in terms of the hematology and oncological diagnosis in the country.”
Dr. Jorge Ignacio, chairman of the Cancer Institute and section head of Medical Oncology of PGH, admits that there is a problem in accommodating the overwhelming number of patients every day.
“This donation will create many opportunities for us at the Cancer Institute and our patients. Given the accessibility this mobile clinic provides us, we foresee patient care response to go up by 20% as well as an increase in productivity among our partner-doctors and healthcare practitioners,” tells Dr. Ignacio.
The Red Van is equipped to fully assist with diagnostics, transfusions, and consultations with patients. Dr. Ma. Angelina Mirasol, section chief of Adult Hematology at the Cancer Institute of PGH explains that their team will be concentrating on depressed areas and urban centers within Metro Manila. With the help of the Andres Soriano Foundation, they will also coordinate with local government units, barangay councils and local health workers for a systematic process.
Before the van’s roll out this January, identified areas and pre-selected cancer patients will be coordinated with community heads.
“The provision of the Red Van for the Hematology and Medical Oncology units at the Cancer Institute will also create opportunities for outreach programs that will improve adherence to treatment through follow ups and other projects,” reveals Dr. Mirasol.
The good doctor further shares that the mobile clinic is first and foremost for indigent patients who cannot afford the multiple visits to hospitals.
She ends her explanation with “In the future, this may even open doors for community-based research and training that will better the quality of care for our patients.”
The Department of Health ranks leukemia as the fourth most prominent type of cancer in the Philippines. But with this initiative from JJI, PGH, and the Andres Soriano Foundation, there is hope that more “red vans” will follow to help Filipino cancer patients get better healthcare access starting 2019.