Mandatory Return of Service for Professionals: Closing the Pandora’s Box?

in Blog Rounds/Opportunities by

In an unprecedented and controversial move, the UP College of Medicine (the state’s subsidized premier medical school) through its UPCM College Council,  approved overwhelmingly the proposed Return Service Mechanism for its UPCM graduates during the council’s March 11, 2008 meeting. (See the details of this new UP Medicine Admission Policy here).

 UP College of Medicine main entrance. Legacies that lived beyond hundred years..

Simply put, starting academic year 2009-2010, all freshman medical students who enter the halls of this premier medical institution, will be required a three (3) year return of service after they graduate before they will be allowed to go out of the country for training, further studies or employment. This is way ahead of that House Bill 4580 authored by Rep. Ignacio T. Arroyo (5th District, Negros Occidental)  that if approved into law, will require all Filipino professionals to render service for at least 2 years before they can go abroad.

In my previous post here, I was trying to determine if there was indeed a shortage of physicians here in the Philippines. The scary answer is yes we have communities who have not seen any physician at all. The average density estimates of 1.2 physicians per 1000 Filipinos (WHO 2002) or 1.2 physicians per 10,000 Filipinos (ADB 1998) is still among the lowest in Asia and globally.

The debate on MD brain drain and MD-RNs going abroad goes protracted and ironically, is still unresolved or acted upon by major stakeholders. Majority of the Filipinos still suffer from the lack of physicians especially in the provinces. This fact still hounds us all and especially the physicians.

Is the this move by UP College of Medicine, the government’s premier medical school and that of HB 4580 of trying to stop this “exodus” and lack of physicians by requiring doctors and professionals to render service to the countrymen a valid one?

Will the provisions of these policies offer solutions to this half a century of professionals leaving our country?

If you think so, maybe you can elucidate some more. If you think not, please say so and elaborate on your answers. In fact, you can give recommendations and suggestion to these policies and laws so your opinion(s) will be read!

That will be the topic for the 17th edition of The Blog RoundsMandatory Return of Service for Professionals: Closing the Pandora’s Box?

Submit your link and title to my email kokegulper(at)yahoo(dot)com or leave a link by commenting to this post!Deadline for blog articles will be on Tuesday August 26, 2008.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (