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Marcos tasks CHED to help address shortage of nurses

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has instructed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to address the shortage on the number of nurses in the country due to migration.

According to the Presidential Communications Office, the shortage on nurses has been affecting the delivery of healthcare in the Philippines.

"We have to be clever about the healthcare manpower. Our nurses are the best,” Marcos said in a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Healthcare Sector group on Wednesday.

"Lahat ng nakakausap kong President, Prime Minister, ang hinihingi is more nurses from the Philippines,” he added.

Last year, Marcos admitted that the benefits accorded to nurses are not enough considering their services and sacrifices to ensure the health of the public.

The President has expressed support for the proposal to enforce a "ladderized" program for nurses in order to strengthen the country's health sector.

For his part, CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III said the agency has already carried out interventions that will address the shortage on nurses, including retooling board non-passers, adopting nursing curriculum with exit credentials, redirecting non-practicing nurses and conducting exchange programs with other countries.

"Under the nursing curriculum with exit credentials, students could have several options: exit at the end of Level I or II, obtain the certificate or diploma in Nursing, or choose to continue and finish the four-year nursing program to become a registered nurse," De Vera said.

He added that CHED is also working on a flexible short-term masteral programs to address the lack of instructors in nursing and medical schools.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) is also assessing the status of the proposed legislation on the Magna Carta for Public Health Care Workers and Philippine Nursing Act, while doing a study on the standardization of salaries of nurses, doctors and healthcare workers, according to Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

On the other hand, the PSAC will also monitor new technologies in healthcare system that can be used for geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and recommend those to the DOH and PhilHealth.

Aside from De Vera and Vergeire, those who attended the PSAC meeting include Sabin Aboitiz Strategic convenor president and CEO Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; Paolo Maximo Borromeo, Healthcare lead president and CEO of Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc; Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., Healthcare Sector Member and Filipino-American molecular biologist and Dr. Nicanor Montoya, Healthcare Sector Member and CEO of Medicard Philippines, Inc. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA Integrated News