Philippines in dire need of nurses as many go abroad

The Philippines is short of around 190,000 health workers as many decide to work overseas. This was announced by Philippine Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa at a press briefing at the presidential palace. Herbosa said, that 20 universities and colleges will now offer medical courses.

The Nordic countries are a popular destination for Filipino nurses due to high salaries and better working conditions. The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Lars Løkke Rasmussen last year announced ambitions to educate and import nurses from the Philippines and India in order to make up for the lack of Danish nurses. The Danish Council of Nurses was very critical of the proposal as they deemed it unethical to “steal” qualified personnel from other countries.

The Department of Health of the Philippines is now considering offering other benefits to nurses in addition to the basic salaries in order to make the nurses want to stay in the Philippines. The benefits could include housing and car assistance, healthcare insurance and higher education and learning assistance.

The lack of professional healthcare workers is a result of many of the educated nurses going abroad. Almost 700 nursing graduates took the exam to get a US licensure in the first three months of 2024 alone.

They leave due to low wages, poor working conditions, and delayed allowances and benefits. Last year the Philippines allowed unlicensed nurses to work as “critical care associates” in hospitals in order to fight the shortage of staff.

Source: the Star

About Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

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