Gov’t allows ‘limited practice’ of medical graduates in COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — The government has approved the deployment of medical graduates to help combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis in the country.
Guidelines on “limited practice” of medical graduates set by the Department of Health (DOH) have been approved by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, its spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Tuesday.
“The Interim Guidelines for the Granting of Special Authorization for the Limited Practice of Medical Graduates as presented by the DOH is hereby adopted,” Nograles said in a virtual briefing.
“Provided, that special authorizations shall only be issued as a last resort,” he noted.
Nograles added this will only be effective for the duration of the state of public health emergency in the country “unless earlier withdrawn by the IATF upon recommendation of the DOH.”
Earlier, Senator Francis Tolentino proposed to allow 1,500 medical graduates to practice the profession to boost the government’s manpower against COVID-19.
The senator said this was already done in Italy where over 10,000 medical graduates were fast-tracked into early service to boost its health system amid the pandemic.
Under the Medical Act of 1959, medical students who have completed the first four years of the medical course, graduates of medicine and registered nurses “are allowed to render medical services upon authorization by the Secretary of Health without the need of a certificate of registration.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a state of public health emergency due to COVID-19. It will remain in effect unless lifted by Duterte.
As of Monday, there are 4,932 cases of COVID-19 in the country with 315 fatalities.
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