Clamor grows to postpone med board exams in September amid COVID surge | Inquirer News

Surge in COVID cases prompts call to postpone Sept. med board exams

/ 06:59 PM August 26, 2021
a medical frontliner wearing a personal protective equipment

CARRYING ON A medical worker on duty at a hospital in Mandaluyong City. FILE/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines – Medical graduates are clamoring for a delay in the September licensure exams as COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the country.

The group Philippine Medical Students’ Association (PMSA) hosted an online rally on August 24 that brought together more than 1,000 students, doctors, and 35 groups in support of postponing exams.

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In a unity statement, PMSA said postponing the exams could help prevent virus transmission because people “are amid the worst surge yet of COVID-19 cases in the country.”

DOH previously declared that the surge in COVID-19 cases will continue in the upcoming weeks, on August 25 the Philippines registered 13,573 COVID-19 cases.

The group also said that not only the individuals taking the exams may become exposed to SARS Cov2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, or its more contagious variant, Delta, but also proctors, administrators and other venue staff.

The group expressed concern about the financial and logistical burden that the exams would bear on aspiring doctors.

“Examinees are required to submit a certificate of quarantine or a negative RT-PCR swab test while others will be traveling from distant places to examination sites,” PMSA said in its statement.

It said that any decision to cancel the exams should be made before the medical graduates begin to spend on the materials necessary for taking the tests, which would be laid to waste if they were canceled without advance notice.

“Our future doctors deserve to be treated with the same compassion and understanding that they are taught to extend to all of their patients,” the group said.

“Newly licensed doctors are of no use if they themselves are hospitalized and/or intubated for contracting COVID-19 in the process of answering the PLE,” said Angel Sison, former national chair of PMSA.

“Pushing through with the board exams is inconsiderate and downright dangerous on an individual and societal level,” she added.

For safer testing, Sison said that the same conditions need to be met as for safer communities: mass testing, ramping up vaccinations, ensuring a steady supply of reliable vaccines, and fully funding hospitals.

“We are hopeful that all medical schools will join in ensuring the health and safety of examinees and PRC personnel,” Sison said. “It’s their chance to show their compassion and to contribute to the common goal to produce quality physicians who would pay it forward,” she added.

Several individuals echoed their support on Twitter.

Individuals and organizations interested in supporting PMSA’s petition can click here.

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TAGS: COVID-19, Doctors, licensure exam, medical graduates, pandemic, Philippine Medical Students' Association, postponement
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