c/o The Philippine Star 11/22/2005
The Philippines has become one of the biggest suppliers of healthcare workers in the world but the exodus of nurses and doctors in the last five years for higher paying jobs overseas has left the country’s health system in a state of near collapse.
At a summit of health care professionals called by the Philippine Medical Association recently, delegates were told in a conference paper: “The crisis in medical human resources is now upon us. The delivery of health services is being compromised. We have to address the problem before the health system completely collapses.”
Jossel Ebesate, general secretary of the Alliance of Health Workers, said the situation had become so bad that the country’s healthcare system would collapse within the next two to three years.
Former health secretary Jaime Galvez Tan, who has been studying the exodus of doctors over the past five years, told Agence France Presse: “We are facing a serious problem and we need to address it now before it is too late.”
He said the demand for nurses, especially in the United States, is outpacing supply.
“Doctors are leaving for a variety of reasons: political instability, low pay, corruption, poor working conditions and the threat of malpractice. But above all they don’t see much hope for the future and the future of their children,” he said.
Tan said the fact that doctors were leaving the Philippines was not a new trend.
“Since the 1970s the Philippines has been a major source for health professionals for many countries,” he said.