DOH urged to probe clinics testing OFWs

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 11 2014 01:20 PM | Updated as of May 11 2014 09:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A recruitment consultant urged the Department of Health (DOH) Friday to investigate the “mass production of medical test results” by some clinics accredited to examine aspiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), particularly those bound for the Middle East.

Emmanuel Geslani said in a statement that many applicants for overseas jobs have been complaining of “abnormal conditions” and procedures at some clinics, such as “hazardous X-ray exams, overcrowding, cursory physical exams and requiring applicants to re-take X-ray and cardio exams.”

He said the DOH should do “surprise inspections” of clinics preying on applicants by fast-tracking medical procedures and issuing questionable laboratory results.

“Due to this very fast processing and questionable medical exams some of these clinics have been barred from one or two Middle East embassies and many OFWs have been deported” because the Middle East hospitals found them unfit to work, Geslani said.

He said some clinics fail to cope with the number of aspiring OFWs – around 300 to 500 – who seek to have themselves tested each day.

Geslani claimed that in one instance, around 25 to 30 people were lined up for X-ray examination right in the X-ray room, where “everyone was exposed to the dangerous rays of the machine except the technician.”

He also said that one applicant complained that “while undergoing physical examination, many of the men and women were not required to remove their clothing” and the doctor performed only a “cursory exam.”

The same applicant also said he was told to have more X-ray examinations done while others were required to be reexamined by a cardiologist at a large hospital at their own expense, Geslani said.