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Friday, May 20, 2011

Migrant welfare group: Nurses are not commodities

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MANILA, Philippines — A migrant workers' welfare group said Friday Filipino nurses should be produced not only for purposes of employment abroad but more importantly, to enhance the domestic health care system.

Migrante International was reacting to the statement of Health Secretary Enrique Ona discouraging incoming students from taking up nursing because of the “decline in the demand for Filipino nurses abroad.”

Ona's statement was "ill-advised, irresponsible and insensitive to the plight of the domestic health care system," said Garry Martinez, chairperson of the group.

“Why discourage students from taking up nursing when we barely have enough nurses here?

The Department of Health (DoH) said the number of graduating nurses has been “disproportionately high but why can’t the government provide domestic job opportunities for nurses to reach or at least narrow the gap in the ideal nurse-patient ratio?” he said.

Martinez noted that the ideal nurse to patient ratio is 1:4, while the ratio in government hospitals has increased from 1:50 to 1:100 in 2005.

“Unfortunately, Filipino nurses, caregivers and health practitioners are not regarded by the Philippine government as nation-builders and partners in addressing the crisis of the country’s health care system.


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