SENATOR Vicente Sotto III wants a law that will provide medical scholarships in state colleges and universities (SUCs) for deserving students to address a shortage of doctors in the countryside.
He filed Senate Bill No. 1232 granting scholarships to bright but poor students who wanted to take up medicine in college.
He believes that SBN 1232 will increase the number of doctors in the country and address the issue of scarcity and “maldistribution” of physicians.
The bill states that immediately after graduating from the program, the scholar must work in the country for five years, two years of which must be rendered in a government hospital or office where he/she resides.
“This would hopefully put a sense of balance in the distribution of doctors particularly in the government sector, which takes care of nearly 70 percent of the health care demand of the population,” said Sotto.
“The cause of uneven distribution of physicians in the Philippine is because most of the doctors prefer to practice in urban areas than in the rural,” he said.
The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) said that the shortage is expected to reach 930,000 when the country’s population reaches 100 million – considering that the “internationally-suggested” ratio is one doctor per 100 population.
Sotto said as of last January, the population of Philippines was estimated to be 101,498,763 people.
“Thus, the predicted shortage by the PMA in 2014 is not anymore a forecast but a reality – reality that has to be faced and solved head-on,” he said.
Under SBN 1232, the aspiring medical student who wished to apply for the scholarship must belong to the top 20 percent of the graduating batch and that the personal and/or family’s income must not be sufficient to support the aspiring medical student’s education.
The scholarship grant will include expenses for, among others, tuition, laboratory and miscellaneous fees; required textbooks, school supplies and equipment; clothing and uniform allowances; traveling expenses; board and lodging expenses; and subsistence and living allowances.