Marcos: Scholarships for nurses to stay in Phl

Garafil 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.

Admitting that the government cannot prevent nurses from leaving the country for better opportunities abroad, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said scholarship programs can make them serve their country for a few years.

“You can’t hold people back from a better life, a better future… It’s fair that you provide scholarships. We just have to find ways to keep them here,” Marcos was quoted as telling
Private Sector Advisory Council Health Sector Group officials in a meeting on Thursday.

The Office of the Press Secretary said the President had earlier expressed his support for the proposal to implement a “ladderized” program to address the “brain drain” among nurses in the country.

Department of Health officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Maria Rosario 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.

“Part of these discussions would be that with our bilateral relationships… we will have exchange programs or exchange conditions,” Vergeire said.

The government, he said, is looking at “bilateral partners” to provide scholarship programs for medical students and professionals.

She also expressed hope to produce more nurses as the government implements the program, although it will take two to three years for it to bear fruit.

OPS said the DoH and Department of Migrant Workers are looking into partnering with other countries to offer exchange programs for healthcare workers.

Part of the Department of Migrant Workers’ 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.

“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,” she said.

Nursing graduates, she said, have to stay in the country for two years before they can be deployed abroad.

Private sector help for PhilHealth

OPS officer-in-charge Cheloy Garafil said the President has sought the help of the private sector in addressing operational gaps in PhilHealth to enhance the implementation of universal health coverage in the Philippines.

She said the PSAC has committed to assisting the Marcos administration in strengthening the state health insurer’s

PSAC, which is composed of Philippine-based business leaders, would provide a third-party assessment to address operational gaps in claims filing, membership application, digitalization, and actuarial valuation, among others.

The business leaders also vowed to bring cheaper medicines into the country and address the shortage of nurses.

Garafil 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.

Aside from Vergeire, present during the meeting at the Malacañang Palace were Vergeire, PSAC Strategic Convenor Sabin Aboitiz, and PSAC Healthcare Lead Paolo Maximo Borromeo.

Also in attendance were 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.


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