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Med grads who would volunteer for COVID-19 response sans licenses still need supervision —PMA exec

Medical graduates who have yet to pass the board exam but would volunteer for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response still need to be supervised by doctors, an official of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) said Wednesday.

"Sa Medical Act of 1959, nakasaad doon na tatawagin lang isang doktor o MD ang isang nag-aral ng medisina kung siya ay nakapasa ng Philippine Medical Board na ibinibigay twice a year ng Professional Regulation Commission," PMA vice president Dr. Benito Atienza said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

"Kung tutulong man siya, hindi siya doktor at dapat i-supervise siya ng mga doktor. Ang problema natin hindi pa sila equipped, dapat may magte-train pa ulit. Nasa jurisdiction pa rin sila dapat ng isang doktor," he added.

Atienza noted that there is no shortage on the of doctors who are willing to render services to the public amid the COVID-19 situation.

There are around 120,000 physicians in the country, according to him, and a group composed of 10,000 doctors actually called to express their willingness to be in the frontline.

Atienza said the lack of personal protective equipment, however, hinders most of them to efficiently perform their duties.

Senator Francis Tolentino earlier urged the Department of Health (DOH) and PRC to allow around 1,500 medical graduates to practice the profession even without passing the licensure exam as the country faces a health emergency.

The lawmaker cited Section 12 of Republic Act No. 2382 or the Medical Act of 1959 which states in the presence of pandemics or national emergencies, "medical students who have completed the first four years of medical course, graduates of medicine, and registered nurses are allowed to render medical services upon authorization by the Secretary of Health without need of a certificate of registration."

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he would consider the proposal.

“It is a very good recommendation and we are studying the specific provision of the law that we can implement as soon as possible,” Duque said.—AOL, GMA News