The newly-signed Universal Health Care (UHC) Law will require government scholars of nursing and other health related courses for a 3-year return service in public health.
That includes graduates of 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs), and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs) who availed of free education covered by Free Tuition Law.
Department of Health (DOH) undersecretary Eric Domingo mentioned this new provision when asked about the challenges in the implementation of the UHC law.
He said that UHC will not succeed without the help of nurses. “That is why we need to increase their salary and improve their working conditions,” Domingo said.
“We will ask them to serve in the country for 3 years before going abroad, at least we have a pool of health workers,” he added.
Based on ‘Return Service Agreement’ found in Section 26 of Republic Act 11223 or the UCH Act, “all graduates of allied and health related courses who are recipients of government-funded scholarship programs shall be required to serve in priority areas in the public sector for 3 full years, with compensation, and under the supervision of the DOH.
“Provided, further, that those who will serve for additional 2 years shall be provided with additional incentives as determined by the DOH…Graduates of allied and health courses from state universities and colleges and private schools shall be encouraged to serve in these areas,” the law stated.
In a statement released March 1, DOH said that a total of 26,000 health workers will be deployed as part of country’s health reforms under the UHC law. Included in this deployment are nurses, doctors, midwives, dentists, medical technologists, pharmacists, nutritionists-dietitians and other health workers.
“They will receive full benefits similar to the benefits of a permanent employee, a policy that the DOH has actively pushed for,” the statement added.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Universal Health Care Law on February 20, 2019. DOH and PhilHealth, in coordination with national government agencies and civil society organizations, are mandated by law to craft an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) not later than 180 days upon its effectivity.