January is Liver cancer and Hepatitis B Awareness month

The House of Representatives has recently approved on third and final reading a bill setting January of each year as the liver cancer and Hepatitis-B awareness and prevention month.

House Bill 988 seeks to promote proper education and preventive programs pertaining to Hepatitis-B and liver cancer to protect the public especially newborn babies from the deadly and contagious disease.

To be known as the Liver Cancer and Hepatitis-B Awareness and Prevention Month Act, the bill authored by Rep. Alfredo D. Marañon III (2nd District, Negros Occidental) declares the month of January of every year as awareness and prevention month.

"The increasing number of Filipinos contracting Hepatitis B and cancer of the liver is getting more alarming," said Marañon, Chairman of the House Committee on Health.

According to Marañon, the government needs to take immediate action on preventing the spread of the virus and its threat to human health especially to newborn babies.

Marañon said a comprehensive public education and awareness program to be spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) and each local government unit, shall be undertaken to ensure a "meaningful observance of the occasion."

Under the bill, the public education and awareness program shall specifically discuss the causes, transmission, consequences, diagnoses, treatments and the prevention of Hepatitis B, including the need for immediate infant immunization and the indispensability of observing the correct schedule and dosage. 

The awareness and prevention campaign must ensure widespread and expeditious public information about the benefits of a compulsory routine immunization of hepatitis B on infants within 24 hours after birth. 

The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Anna York Bondoc (4th District, Pampanga) and Augusto Syjuco (2nd District, Iloilo).