The Philippines Needs More Med Techs

An Indespensible Pillar

The country’s shortage in healthcare professionals is more severe than we think. Beyond the usual news about the lack of doctors and nurses, we are also in dire need of more medical technologists in the rural areas.

Despite not being as recognized as the other medical professions, med techs are essential to the country’s healthcare system. Dr. Eduardo Janairo, the director of DOH-MIMAROPA Region, referred to them as “an indispensable pillar.” Hospitals, he noted, cannot be accredited without these allied healthcare professionals.

As a medical leader in MIMAROPA, Dr. Janairo knows first-hand the importance of medical technologists. All five island provinces of his region (Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) are suffering from an extreme lack of med techs.

For the Marinduque population of 300,000, only three medical technologists can offer their service to public health centers. Two of those med techs are in Lucena, a nearly two-hour ride away. Dr. Janairo encapsulated the problem by saying “every time there was a need for a med tech, you could not find one.”

The Road to Sustainability

To remedy the situation, Dr. Janairo looked onto the potential medical technologists. The med tech course takes four years to complete – a length of time that Dr. Janairo simply could not afford. In an attempt to entice more medical technologists as well as bridge that time gap, Dr. Janairo devised a fast-track solution. Scholarships were given to healthcare workers to take up a second degree on medical technology.

The region initially opened this program to nursing and midwifery graduates. They’ve already earned enough credits in the previous course to shorten their second degree to two years. This would mean that a new batch of medical technologists can soon serve the government hospitals and rural health units of MIMAROPA.

In its first year of implementations, seven passed the entrance exams of the program’s partner college, St. Jude College. Five of them would then go on to pass the medical technology board exams and serve MIMAROPA’s health facilities. The other two are currently reviewing for August’s licensure exam.

This project has raised the awareness of the community on their med tech shortage. This encouraged parents to invest in their children’s future as medical technologists. The collective efforts of the community now provides great hope for both Dr. Janairo and the rest of the MIMAROPA region.