OVER 100,000 nurses and other healthcare workers (HCWs) are currently in demand in the country, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

In a press conference on Thursday, September 29, 2022, DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country is currently facing a shortage in its healthcare workers.

"We have a shortage or gap of 106,000. Nurses that are needed to man our facilities all over the country, both public and private," said Vergeire.

"If you talk about shortage in healthcare workers, we have a huge shortage," she added.

Vergeire said that manpower shortages are also present among doctors, pharmacists, radiologic technologists, medical technicians, occupational therapists, midwives, physical therapists and dentists.

She noted how in DOH hospitals alone, there is a need for 624 nurses, 1,332 midwives, and 63 dentists, all of which are plantilla government positions.

According to the DOH official, the shortage in healthcare workers can be attributed to the continued migration of medical professionals.

"One of the main reasons why we have this shortage is because of the migration of healthcare workers," said Vergeire.

Deployment cap

Vergeire said the DOH continues to be against the raising of the deployment cap set by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for healthcare workers amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The annual deployment cap currently stands at 7,000 healthcare workers.

"If we are to be asked, we would like to maintain this cap. We wouldn't want an increase in the number of HCWs to be sent abroad," said Vergeire.

In order to counter opposition to it, she said they are already exploring measures on how to convince healthcare professionals to stay home and work locally.

"We are in discussion with the Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Labor and Employment regarding the possible incentives for healthcare workers for them not to leave the country," said Vergeire.

The health official added they shall continue to encourage medical professionals to consider working in local health facilities by applying with the DOH.

"We need your help now so that the health facilities in the country will be able to continue their operations," said Vergeire. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)