Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. directs CHED to address shortage of nurses due to migration

2023 March 29

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to immediately address the shortage of nurses due to migration, which has been affecting the delivery of effective healthcare in the country.

“We have to be clever about the healthcare manpower. Our nurses are the best, buong mundo na ang kalaban natin dito (referring to nurses migrating to other countries where pay is higher),” (We have to be clever about the healthcare manpower. Our nurses are the best, the whole world is our enemy here (referring to nurses migrating to other countries where pay is higher)) the President said during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Healthcare Sector group in Malacanang Palace Wednesday.

“Lahat ng nakakausap kong President, Prime Minister, ang hinihingi is more nurses from the Philippines,” (All the President, Prime Minister, I talk to, what they ask is more nurses from the Philippines) the President pointed out as he asked CHED for concrete steps to keep Filipino nurses working in the country.

In response to the President, CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III said it is already carrying out interventions to address the shortage of nurses, which include retooling board non-passers, adopting nursing curriculum with exit credentials, redirecting non-practicing nurses and conducting exchange programs with other countries.

“Under the nursing curriculum with exit credentials, students could have several options: exit at the end of Level I or II, obtain the certificate or diploma in Nursing, or choose to continue and finish the four-year nursing program to become a registered nurse,” De Vera reported to the PSAC Health Sector group.

De Vera said CHED is also working on a flexible short-term masteral program to address the lack of instructors in nursing and medical schools.

The Department of Health (DOH), according to Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, is also assessing the status of the proposed legislation on the Magna Carta for Public Health Care Workers and Philippine Nursing Act while doing a study on the standardization of salaries of nurses, doctors and healthcare workers.

It was also agreed on during the meeting that the PSAC will monitor new technologies in healthcare that can be used for geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and recommend those to the DOH and PhilHealth.

The PSAC will also study the feasibility of establishing remote diagnostics centers and assess new medical technologies and their costs.

Aside from the CHED Chairperson and DOH OIC, those who attended the PSAC meeting include Sabin Aboitiz Strategic convenor president and CEO Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; Paolo Maximo Borromeo, Healthcare lead president and CEO of Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc; Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., Healthcare Sector Member and Filipino-American molecular biologist and Dr. Nicanor Montoya, Healthcare Sector Member and CEO of Medicard Philippines, Inc.