Pharmaceutical company GSK continues to ramp up its cervical cancer awareness efforts with a focus on the patient — the woman. In the Philippines, the Power Over Cervical Cancer campaign was launched, urging Filipinas “to realize that they are empowered — that they can do something to prevent the disease from happening to them, so they can have the wonderful, meaningful and joyful life that they deserve.”
To further advance this advocacy to embrace more women across all demographics, the pioneering “Power Wives” in the launch of the campaign are the seafarers’ wives, who will undergo a program that will include sessions on personality development, image building, personal resilience, financial management and self-care.
To date, there are about 400,000 Filipino seafarers deployed who render themselves and their families at greater risk for several diseases and infections due to their working conditions. While they are striving for financial stability as their idea of a bright future, GSK aims to “bring into their consciousness the value of preventive healthcare.”
On a national scale, Filipino seafarers onboard international fleets contribute to the country’s coffers. Their foreign exchange remittances grow annually, notwithstanding that seafarers comprise only 5% of the total OFWs working abroad. In 2014, their contributions amounted to $5.6billion out of the $D24.3 billion dollars aggregate OFW remittances, or more than 20% thereof. Currently, the Philippines is also ranked number four among the biggest shipbuilders in the world.
For GSK, securing the OFW families’ future is important; and “the future should not only mean financial stability but also health and wellness among the family members. Therefore, the need for health checkups and vaccination becomes more imperative.”
Related to this is the commonness of cervical cancer, a major problem for Filipino women. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipinas, with seven dying of the disease every single day. Worse, two in three Filipinas diagnosed with cervical cancer may die within five years, or up to 2,832 women dying in a year.
Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop and spread in the cervix, the entrance between the vagina and the uterus. The human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus, is the cause of cervical cancer. It has been shown that 99.7% of cervical cancer patients are positive for HPV infection. It is also estimated that up to 80% of women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
While HPV is primarily transmitted via sexual intercourse, skin-to-skin genital contact is also a recognized mode of transmission. Beyond regular consultations and pap smears by a doctor, vaccines that protect against cancer-causing HPV are also now readily available.
For further information, visit www.gsk.com.