MANILA — Two state universities are set to offer medicine programs in the next academic year as part of an effort to provide more doctors in underserved areas.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said late Wednesday it has allowed the Cebu Normal University-Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (CNU-VSMMC) and Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) to open their doctor of medicine programs for Academic Year 2021 to 2022.
In a statement, the CHED said the move was in support of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act and Doktor Para sa Bayan program.
"In support of these landmark laws, CHED is aggressively assisting top SUCs to develop doctor of medicine programs to address the shortage of doctors across regions of the country," said CHED Chair Prospero de Vera III.
Under implementing rules and regulations of the UHC Law, CHED is mandated to "develop and plan the expansion of existing and new allied and health-related degree and training programs based on the health needs of the population."
The Doktor Para Sa Bayan program, meanwhile, aims to give scholarships to Filipino medical students, provided that these learners, upon graduation and licensing, will work as doctors in the country for the same number of years they were under the scholarship program.
CHED said the CNU would follow "a combination of the Cuban and Canadian model curriculum which balances clinical and population/community-based practice."
The WMSU, on the other hand, will follow a holistic and integrated learning approach, "which combines problem-based integrated system approach and research-based and values-driven education."
With the addition of the 2 schools, there are now 10 state universities offering doctor of medicine programs, including the Mariano Marcos State University, University of Northern Philippines and West Visayas State University.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier allowed limited in-person classes for medical and allied health courses in select schools to ensure that the country would have enough health workers.