Philippines lacks 106,000 nurses, DOH says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2022 04:16 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
A nurse enters the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Delivery and Operating Room Complex in Quezon City for her shift on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Philippines lacks around 106,000 nurses, the Department of Health said Thursday, amid "migration" of health workers in search of better opportunities.

The health department wants the country to retain the 7,000 annual deployment cap of new-hire medical professionals abroad.

"We have a shortage or a gap of around 106,000 para mapunuan natin 'yung mga facilities natin all over the country, both for public and private," DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

The Philippines also lacks doctors, pharmacists, medical technologists, midwives, physical therapists and dentists, she added.

Currently, the DOH has over 2,000 unfilled plantilla positions. The figure includes 624 positions for nurses, 1,332 for midwives, and 63 for dentists.

"Kailangan po namin ang tulong niyo sa ngayon para mag-continue po ang operations ng bawat facility dito sa ating bansa," Vergeire said.

As to the annual deployment ceiling of health workers overseas, the DOH wanted to maintain it for now.

"Hanggang sa kulang pa po ang produksyon ng ating bansa sa mga speciffic health-care workers professions na ito, sana po 'yung deployment cap natin ay manatili lamang sa ganun," the health official said.

The DOH is scheduled to meet with the newly created Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Labor and Employment about offering incentives to health workers to stay in the country.

Vergeire said the agency also plans to talk to countries where health workers are deployed on possibly providing perks to the Philippines, such as scholarships or exchange programs.

A group of nurses earlier said that low pay and lack of improvement in working conditions lead to health workers to leaving to find jobs overseas.

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