“Sana sa akin na lang ang sakit mo [I hope I could have your illness].”
Rings a bell?
With concern and sympathy, this is what a Filipino mother would usually say if her little one is ill.
Understandably, moms are selfless and will always put the family’s interest ahead of her own.
But moms should also realize that the whole home will get paralyzed if they are not well.
As they fulfill a job that almost never allows them to call in sick, mothers should also realize that they have to prevent diseases from befalling them so that they can fully perform seemingly endless duties.
This is among the goals of Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC) and pharmaceutical company GSK in their recently-launched Power Over Cervical Cancer campaign that urges women to get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), cause of the invasive cervical cancer.
The organizations formed a group of seafarers’ wives, namely Power Wives, who will undergo sessions on cervical cancer as well as personality development, image building, personal resilience, financial management and self-care.
“We want an increase of awareness [in]women. There was a study before saying that only few women [prepare]themselves against the disease [cervical cancer], considering that this is the kind of cancer that we can prevent. The result showed that women do not prioritize their health. Their priority is always their family,” Normi Hernandez, family and crew relations manager of PTC, said.
Hernandez noted that they had some sailors who opted to end their contracts and came home because of their wives’ illness.
Jackielyn Cortez, GSK’s associate product manager of HPV vaccines, clarified that not just seafarers’ wives are at risk of cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer is a threat to all Filipinas, regardless of age, social-economic status and employment,” she said, adding that cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipino women, with seven dying of the dreaded disease every single day.
Not all women, however, realize the risk.
“Well, the reasons are they do not have the right information, which would’ve prompted them to consult their doctors, and some women do not admit that they are at risk of cervical cancer because Filipino mothers are used to endure everything,” Cortez said.
She appealed to women to be empowered in the fight against the deadly disease.
“As you join the fight against cervical cancer, please remember that you’re not only doing it for yourself. You’re not just doing yourself a favor, you’re doing it also for your families as well,” Cortez said.
MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO