Tell it to SunStar: Doctors’ shortage

SunStar Tell it
SunStar Tell it

By Atty. Joseph M. Baduel

Sen. Francis Tolentino emphasized the need for a more accessible health program, noting that the country only has around 169,000 doctors for more than 101 million people, and only 49 percent are currently active in their medical profession.

The World Health Organization says the ideal ratio is one doctor for every one thousand persons. Recently, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 10145, or An Act Providing for a Philippine Medical Act, repealing for the purpose Republic Act (RA) 2382, as amended, otherwise known as the Medical Act of 1954, allowing the registration of foreign medical graduates of Philippine medical schools.

There is a need for an additional 9,117 physicians in the country, but our medical graduates are less than 5,000 every year, and less than half pass the licensed examinations.

The law addresses the shortage of doctors by allowing foreign nationals who studied in a Philippine College of Medicine to practice in the country upon passing the Physicians Licensure Examination.

Senator Tolentino urged the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and members of Congress “to open their minds” by allowing the amendment of RA 8981, or the PRC Memorandum Act of 2000, to authorize foreigners to practice locally in various parts of the country for a longer period.

It is ironic while some Filipino doctors leave our country for greener pastures abroad, there are foreigners who acquired their medical degree here and passed the medical board exam who want to stay and practice their profession here.

The amendment is one of the solutions to address the shortage of doctors.

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