Scholarships eyed to address shortage of nurses, other health professionals
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has said the government may resort to providing scholarships for nurses and other medical workers to encourage them to stay and serve in the country.
The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) on Friday said the President issued the remark during a meeting with representatives of the healthcare cluster of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) on Thursday.
Marcos said that although the government can’t prevent nurses from leaving for high-paying jobs overseas, they must at least serve their country if they avail of the government scholarship program.
“Lahat, nurses. Naghahanap… Everybody that I talk to, especially from the States and from Europe… So the only thing is that the scholarship program, that you know, can’t hold people back from a better life, from a better living…” the President said during the meeting, as quoted by the OPS.
(All of them are looking for nurses. Everybody that I talk to, especially from the States and from Europe… So the only thing is that the scholarship program, that you know, can’t hold people back from a better life, from a better living.)
“But I think it’s fair that if you provide scholarship, that you expect that mag-serbisyo muna sila ng ilang taon. Hindi babayaran ‘yung scholarship eh. They don’t need to pay that,” he added.
(But I think it’s fair that if you provide scholarships, that you expect that they will serve their country for a few years. They won’t pay for the scholarship. They don’t need to pay for that.)
According to the OPS, during the meeting, Department of Health officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosaria Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) has already started discussions with the deans of the University of the Philippines and other allied healthcare services for the government’s “ladderized” scholarship program.
Vergeire also expressed hope to produce more nurses as the government implements the program, although it will take two to three years for it to bear fruit.
Vergeire also told the President that the DOH had initial talks with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) for exchange programs with other countries needing healthcare workers.
“So in turn we are going to propose that if we can provide them with these numbers that they need, they [would] provide us also, for example, scholarships for a number of our healthcare workers here,” Vergeire said, as quoted by the OPS.
She added that graduates have to stay in the country for two years before they can be deployed abroad.
According to her, part of DMW’s plans is to secure deals with the country’s bilateral partners or countries to provide funds for scholarships in the Philippines.
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