Sunday, November 18, 2007

Runaway Migration

I attended a summit meeting sponsored by the Department of Health regarding the runaway migration of our Human Health Resources, yes, we health workers are now referred to as HHRs. Quite an interesting meeting, got to listen to officials from the Departments of Labor and Foreign Affairs as well as a number of recruiters and members of the academe.

The numbers who have left are staggering. And our nursing schools have become transformed into factories churning out record figures of graduates to meet the awesome demand. A foreign recruiter summed it up best: this boom will not last indefinitely and the Chinese are fast learning English and we critically need to maintain our competitive edge and dispassionately recognize the fleeting nature of this export product of ours.

Between human health resource and export product, I personally prefer the latter appellation because it allows us to become more objective with our policies. We don’t need to get emotional about the issues because we have to face it, we are totally outclassed compared to other countries in producing vehicles, electronic devices, food, construction materials, energy, war materiel, etc. But we can supply the world with our caring and competent citizens, nothing to be ashamed about.

This is why I did not agree with this foreign recruiter’s suggestion to compel nursing graduates to serve their communities for a period of 2 years before being “deployed” abroad because we need to get all these professionals working and earning as soon as possible and remitting a portion of their earnings.

Our responsibility is to make certain that these remittances are plowed back into upgrading our crumbling health and educational infrastructure instead of ending up in sacks furtively distributed to our traditional politicians. We have a great product and we need to keep it that way.


Anonymous said...

Please support the DOH's Pinoy MD Program, funded by the PCSO. (Where the govt sends a max. of 100 scholars every year to med school, in response to the brain drain exp. by the Phil. )The program needs improvement. Thanks

nina said...

the people who go abroad can become anti-pinoy, in a way that they tend to become 'more american or english' etc than be proud and retain their identities as pinoys. though not everyone is like that, this sending out of our health workers or ofws abroad can be damaging to us. i just hope they serve the country first before going away or if they come back, they stay and serve the country then. the money they send home may help, yes, but not entirely.