In 1993, the Philippine Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (PSHBT) under the presidency of Dr. Mary N. Chua, envisioned and mandated the establishment of strategic centers tasked to “develop, enhance and improve” the management and care provided to patients with various hematologic disorders namely “hemophilia, thalassemia and leukemia”. It was in line with this innovative idea that the Short Stay Service of the UST Hospital was designated as the society’s “pilot hemophilia center”.
The Short Stay Service was the brainchild of the Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology of the UST Hospital. Its training and teaching staff was composed of well-respected and highly reverred names in local pediatric hematology and oncology assisted by fellows chosen from all parts of the archipelago. They were responsible for laying down the groundwork upon which the future National Hemophilia Center will rise.
As a pioneering institution in the field of local hemophilia care, the UST Hospital Short Stay Service became a fertile birth place of research, training and community extension services in pediatric hematology-oncology in the Philippines. From its humble beginnings in the early 90’s, it has helped produce more than 15 PSHBT Board-certified pediatric hematology practitioners throughout the archipelago enjoying successful careers in clinical and corporate practice as well as the academe. It has successfully introduced into the local healthcare landscape advances in hemophilia care never seen and applied. It has innovated in providing hemophilia home care treatment, fibrin glue application in dental extractions, coagulation factor and inhibitor assays as well as DNA analyses in some research endeavors embarked upon by the center. It has earned the reputation of being a credible and formidable source of locally and internationally published hemophilia researches. It has become an authority in hemophilia care, relied upon by medical and paramedical practitioners in the country. In 1998, during the Centennial Year of the Philippine Independence, the Thomasian Community decided to bestow on this unit, the name, “UST Hemophilia Center”.
As the newly designated “UST Hemophilia Center”, it continued its task of promoting and providing optimum quality health care to Filipinos with hemophilia. It has embarked on various wide-ranging programs intended to strengthen the Filipino hemophiliacs’ knowledge and understanding of his disease including the unwanted complications it generates. It has spearheaded the conduct of inter-active scientific sessions, hands-on coagulation workshops and countless outreach awareness and registry activities.
On July 29, 1999, the Department of Health through D.O.-1-s.1999 officially designated the UST Hospital as a “hemophilia center” capping a decade long of impressive track record and multi-awarded outputs related to hemophilia care. With such designation and the center’s inclusion as an identified program of the National Voluntary Blood Services Program of the Department of Health, the center was later known as the “National Hemophilia Center”. The first head of the National Hemophilia Center was Dr. Mary N. Chua, an outstanding pediatrician and respected pediatric hematologist. Largely organized and mobilized by this feisty lady visionary, the National Hemophilia Center had the following objectives: (1) creation of an up-to-date, reliable and realistic National Hemophilia Registry (2) education and training of government, non-government, medical and paramedical personnel in the appropriate and early detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of hemophilia and its undesirable complications (3) generation of a high level of awareness in all socio-economic strata regarding hemophilia and related bleeding disorders and (4) promotion of safe and adequate blood supply through voluntary blood donation.
On May 21, 2004, the Philippine National Hemophilia Center Foundation Inc. (PNHCF) was born still with Dr. Mary N. Chua as its FIRST President. The PNHCF Inc. was structurally patterned after the National Hemophilia Center whose existence in essence was absorbed by the new organization. In September 2005, the PNHCF’s first Annual Convention was held during the 35th Annual Convention of the Philippine Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion with the topic, “Issues in Blood Safety”. During that occasion, Dr. Rodelio D. Lim, a pathologist and blood banking specialist was elected as its second President.
Cognizant of the changes that the PNHCF Inc. must breeze through in lieu of changing administrators and administrations as well as the challenges it must survive as a result of the movement of people in and out of the organization. The elected officers of the PNHCF in 2005-2006, with the concurrence of all its board and regular members and in consultation and concurrence of the original Core Group Members that comprised the Multi-disciplinary Hemophilia team of the National Hemophilia Center, amendments to the existing constitution and by-laws were proposed and ratified paving the way for the creation of the Philippine Hemophilia Foundation Inc. (PHF), Dr. Rodelio D. Lim was again elected as President.
The Philippine Hemophilia Foundation Inc. remains committed to the original 4 pillar-objectives of what used to be known as the National Hemophilia Center as a fitting tribute to the founders of the organization and to the noble and timeless vision and mission they have set. It remains loyal and faithful to the original spirit and essence of the reason why it was established and that is to serve, improve and empower Filipino people with hemophilia.
The years ahead will test the mettle of PHF’s people, principles and policies which will shape the personality and direction of PHF as it upholds, protect and preserve the interests of the Filipino people with hemophilia. The road is long and bumpy, but we took the first steps and were guided by driven minds and benevolent hearts. All we need to do is continue the journey and see where it will lead us. And with all our collective prayers and efforts, we shall see the dawning of a better and brighter day for the people this unfolding history aims to further – the Filipino people with hemophilia.