Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Doctor is Out

We live in a world where a lot of medical misconceptions are already construed as facts: eating at night makes you gain weight, you should take eight glasses of water each day, touching frogs or toads gives you warts, sugar makes kid hyper, reading in dim light ruins your eyesight, doctors live a glamorous profession. These are the things that people have just accepted as true without question simply because they are told and heard repeatedly of the same thing. Sometimes even people with medical degree falls prey into these daunting task of sorting facts from fiction. But when it comes to the glam and prestige of their own profession, they know better and they'd tell you it's not.

I now work for an insurance related company here in Dubai. It's an organization that employs more than 200 people, more than half of which are Filipinos who are health-related practitioners. I remember during my an induction/orientation program two years ago for newbie's in the company, three of them were Filipino physicians who came to Dubai on tourist visa to look for work. At first, I couldn’t believe that they were doctors, well, not part that they were licensed, but what prompted them to leave the country and gamble here. Of all the people that I'd expect to be fellow OFW, doctors, together with lawyers and politicians, are the least I thought to join the search for greener pasture. I thought they are on top of the society, important people who saves lives. I was wrong. They are important people indeed, but just like many of us, their service back home is more of nobility than livelihood.

What brought me here to Dubai was the same reasons these doctors have left the country, better pay and better living opportunities for their loved ones. My respect, admiration and high regards for doctors have averted me from pursuing my intrigues directly from them. The fact they were here should end all of my questions and instead direct my misconceptions back home.

There must be something wrong there that even doctors are leaving the country at its deplorable state. P19,618 monthly salary for a resident physician in a government hospital, job insecurity and curtailment of basic rights, political instability, poor working conditions, threat of the malpractice law, high taxes, decreased stature of doctors and inadequate resources to perform functions, indeed, more than the economic reasons, a slew of other push factors are what sending our doctors to seek employment abroad..

It is a sad reality, that in times that we exactly need doctors to mitigate the lamenting healthcare situation in the country, more and more medical professionals are leaving and lending their gifts, skills, their brainpower, tenacity and work ethics at the service of other people. Because of the ongoing medical Diaspora, a lot of rural towns in the country are without doctors to serve the medical needs of the people, hospitals are closing down due to lack of nurses and doctors and from what I've read in a related blog, 7 out 10 people are dying without being seen by health personnel. At the rate things are going, surely it wouldn’t be a surprise if there will come a day when there are no more doctors or nurses to cure our illnesses and we will just die helplessly in unmanned big hospitals built from the dollar remittances of these doctors who have chosen to be OFWs.

For its part, the government has remained callous and unmindful of the sad twist of events. It has never been really worried of the exodus of doctors and other professional to work abroad, it even encourages it. And why not? The Philippines earned 16.4B in OFW remittances in 2008. If not for the remittances of the OFWs, the Philippine economy had collapsed long ago. Consequently, the people back home pay the same price.

1 comment:

  1. i am really worried kung ano na mangyari sa bansa natin kung lahat ng doctors eh magiging OFW na! sino pang gagamot sa me sakit?

    aaanhin pa natin ang mga padala ng kapamilya sa ibang bansa kung wala naman tutugon sa ating mga pangangailangang medical.

    such a sad reality talaga.