New Health chief says to address 'brain drain'

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2023 03:38 PM | Updated as of Jun 07 2023 05:12 PM

ABS-CBN News file
Newly-appointed Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News file

MANILA — Newly appointed Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said he will give healthcare workers their due benefits to address the exodus of medical professionals from the country for higher-paying jobs abroad.

On his first day as the chief of the Department of Health (DOH), Herbosa met with other health officials and vowed that healthcare workers receive their benefits.

"It’s about time we honor them kasi umaalis sila eh. They’re getting jobs in other countries that’s paying them higher. We need to solve this. Priority ko ito,” Herbosa said.

He added that he will be working with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure that the country's healthcare workers would be given what the government still owes them.

"I'll look into that, I’ll make sure na (nag)trabaho at nagbigay ng serbisyo mabigay ang benefits nila."

Aside from addressing the country's brain drain, Herbosa also said he was ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to address the country's high number of tuberculosis cases, HIV infections among the youth, and teenage pregnancy, as well as to expand healthcare access to poor Filipinos.

“I just hope that the DOH will all help me, all the kawani dito na tulungan ako na mapalaganap ang universeal health care,” he said.

Asked about opposition to his appointment, Herbosa said he "never pushed for privatization" of government hospitals but that he intends to meet with the private sector to ask for their contribution to help implement universal health care.

He also said that the return of the controversial Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine was not part of his plans.

Herbosa is the first health secretary under the Marcos administration, whose appointment ended a yearlong vacancy in the position.

Before his appointment, Herbosa previously served as an adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19 under the Duterte administration, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.


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