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Pinoy Abroad

DOH, DMW discussing possible exchange programs with countries needing healthcare workers

The Department of Health (DOH) has started talks with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) for possible exchange programs with countries who need healthcare workers.

The matter was discussed during Thursday’s meeting of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. with the healthcare cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), in which the Chief Executive reiterated the need to provide scholarships for nurses and other medical personnel.

“So in turn we are going to propose that if we can provide them with these numbers that they need, they [would] provide us also, for example, scholarships for a number of our healthcare workers here,” Vergeire said in a statement issued Friday.

Vergeire said the graduates have to stay in the Philippines for two years before they can be deployed abroad.

She said part of the DMW’s plans is to secure deals with the country’s bilateral partners or countries to provide funds for scholarships in the Philippines.

After graduation, Vergeire said the scholars will be required to serve their communities for a certain period before they could seek overseas employment. 

Marcos said the government could not prevent nurses from leaving for high-paying jobs abroad, however, they must at least serve their country if they avail of the government’s scholarship program.

“Lahat, nurses. Naghahanap… Everybody that I talk to, especially from the States and from Europe… So the only thing is that the scholarship program, that you know, you can’t hold people back from a better life, from a better living…” Marcos said.

“But I think it’s fair that if you provide scholarship, that you expect that there are… mag-serbisyo muna sila ng ilang taon. Hindi babayaran ‘yung scholarship eh. (They should serve first for some years. They will not pu the scholarship) They don’t need to pay that,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the DOH had started discussions with the deans of the University of the Philippines and other allied healthcare services for the government’s “ladderized” scholarship program.

The PSAC, for its part, expressed commitment to help the administration in improving the health system, particularly in strengthening the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) by providing a third-party assessment that will focus on addressing operational gaps in claims filing, membership application, digitalization and actuarial valuation, among others.

It also vowed to work with the Food and Drug Administration to upgrade its systems to obtain accreditation with various international regulatory bodies and raise awareness about the value of generic drugs.

Among those present in the PSAC healthcare sector group meeting were PSAC Strategic Convenor Sabin Aboitiz, PSAC Healthcare Lead Paolo Maximo Borromeo, Filipino-American molecular biologist and priest Dr. Nicanor Austriaco, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. CEO Dr. Harish Pillai and Unilab President and CEO Clinton Campos Hess. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News