Cervical cancer kills 12 women in the Philippines each day

More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population – now more than 100 million people – lives on just 11 of them.

Map of MSF's activities in the Philippines, 2015

After recovering from an economic downturn in 2004, the Philippines now ranks as one of the most promising newly-industrialised countries, with its export economy moving away from agriculture to electronics, petroleum and other goods.

Although endowed with many fine beaches and a growing tourism industry, much of the country is mountainous and prone to natural disasters. It is often lashed by typhoons and other storms.

MSF's work in the Philippines

Since October 2016, MSF has worked in the slums of Tondo, in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. 

Access to affordable health services are a huge challenge for people who live in these slums, especially for women seeking non-judgemental care. Moreover, cervical cancer is one of the leading cancer killers in developing countries and kills 12 women in the Philippines each day.

MSF supports a local organisation, Likhaan, which has worked in the vast Tondo slum since 2008. They focus on family planning and other areas of women’s health, including cervical cancer. 

The staff there see about 80 patients a day and hold about 1,200 family planning consultations a month. Hundreds of women have also come to get screened for cervical cancer. 

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Typhoon Haiyan

MSF completed the closure of all its post-typhoon activities in the Philippines in 2015

The most damaging recent storm was 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, to which Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has recently ended its response. MSF first worked in the Philippines in 1987.

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By June 2015, the response and recovery activities put in place to support communities affected by the 2013 typhoon Haiyan were all closed.

© Yann Libessart/MSF

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Yann LibessartCommunications Officer

These included support for maternal and child health activities in Leyte provincial hospital and the rehabilitation of three hospitals on Leyte and Samar islands.

During the year we conducted a number of assessments in different locations in the country to identify possible needs for long-term programmes.

As a result, a sexual and reproductive health programme will be opened in 2016 in the capital Manila.

This programme will be run in collaboration with Likhaan, a national organisation, and will include early screening and vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer.

find out more in our international activity report

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