Philippines short of 190,000 health workers

By VNA   May 24, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
Philippines short of 190,000 health workers
A medical worker injects Covid-19 vaccine for a woman in Manila, the Philippines, in 2021. Photo by Reuters
The Philippines is short of about 190,000 health workers while many decide to work overseas, Philippine Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said.

Speaking at a press briefing at the presidential palace after discussing the healthcare issues with President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos on Wednesday, Herbosa said that 20 state universities and colleges in the Philippines now offer medical courses.

The Department of Health is now considering offering other benefits to nurses in addition to the basic salaries to entice them to stay in the country, such as possible housing and car assistance, healthcare insurance, and higher education and learning assistance.

Meanwhile, the Philippines continues to supply the world with nurses and other healthcare workers.

According to lawmaker Marvin Rillo, the vice chair of the House Committee on Higher Education and Technical Education, from January to March this year, nearly 7,000 nursing graduates took the U.S. licensure exam.

A large number of Philippine nursing graduates is expected to persist in pursuing their career aspirations in the U.S. and other foreign labor markets if they are still underpaid at home, Rillo said.

The exodus of Filipino health workers continued over the years due to low wages, poor working conditions, and delayed allowances and benefits.

Last year, the Philippines green-lighted the deployment of unlicensed nurses to work as "critical care associates" in hospitals to address the country's nurse shortage.

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