Care for Rare awareness campaign

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As part of the continuous efforts to promote public awareness on rare diseases, the Philippine General Hospital, UP National Institutes of Health, and the Philippine Society of Orphan Disorders together with the Department of Health, is pioneering the Care for Rare awareness campaign held at the Philippine General Hospital Out-Patient Department. The campaign runs until Nov. 16. 

During this month-long campaign, an information table is set up with health volunteers giving out informational materials about rare diseases specifically Lysosomal Storage Disorders like: Pompe disease, MPS I &II, Fabry disease and Gaucher disease. Patients can approach these volunteers to inquire about the diseases as well.  

As a globally competitive medical and health facility, the Philippine General Hospital is strongly committed to render quality healthcare to the Filipino people through networking and teamwork of its competent, compassionate and ethical health professionals, and by being a center of excellence and leadership in health care training and research that impacts on health policies. 

Guided by this mission, this PGH Care for Rare campaign aims to bring national attention and awareness on the impact of rare diseases among people and the ways by which families and communities can help realize the spirit and intention of R.A. No. 10747 or the Rare Disease Law. 

PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi and UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita Padilla cut the ceremonial ribbon at the launch of Care for Rare awareness campaign 

The Philippines has achieved a very important milestone when the Rare Disease Act was passed into law which seeks to improve the access of patients with rare diseases to comprehensive medical care and to timely health information that would help them cope with their condition. 

Rare diseases do not only affect patients but also their families. Thus the presence of a Rare Disease law somehow alleviates the position of which families with a rare disease patient are in. 

“As of the moment, the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the RD law are still being finished and parents of RD patients like me are looking forward to its implementation because that will ensure that budget will be allocated to RD programs. This law gives us hope in making sure that people with rare diseases are given a chance at life,” says Cynthia Magdaraog, president of the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders and parent of a Pompe disease patient.

In the Philippines, a disease is considered rare if it affects one in every 20,000 individuals or less. Those afflicted with rare disease or orphan disorders suffer from social abandonment due to lack of existing network of support to aid them. 

The nature of rare disease is hardly known as well due to lack of information; and only few medical professionals in the country are aware of these disorders and how to diagnose and address these conditions.  Medical help is also elusive under the conditions of the country’s health priorities. With this information campaign, both private and government organizations working behind it are hoping to address the need for effective identification and diagnosis of rare diseases among our country’s population. 

Public awareness plays a very important part in comprehensive healthcare; and a comprehensive healthcare respects everyone’s right to life. The campaign for national Rare Disease awareness is a shared responsibility and there is a great need to work together for this to be successful.

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