Friday, April 07, 2006

Health (bad) news

Thousands of nurses leave RP yearly:

NURSES and other medical workers are leaving the Philippines at the rate of at least 15,000 a year for better-paying jobs abroad, threatening the country's health infrastructure, World Health Organization (WHO) officials warned Friday.
"It is a serious, serious situation," WHO spokesman Peter Cordingley said, noting that even Filipino doctors abandon their practices and go back to medical schools to enroll in nursing courses.

The number is more than any other country, with the United States, Britain and lately Australia the main destinations.

WHO country representative Jean Marc Olive warned that the exodus was expected to persist until 2015, with annual demand for medical workers in the United States and Europe estimated to be about 800,000.

"In the Philippines the shortage of nurses is starting to be felt, therefore it's a pressing issue that needs to be addressed, but not the quick fix solutions," Olive told a news conference.

He urged the government to look into the needs of the health workers" and adopt plans to convince them to stay.

UNICEF raises alarm on malnutrition in RP:

THE UNITED Nations Children's Fund has raised the alarm on malnutrition in the Philippines, which it noted has not substantially improved in the last 15 years.

At the first National Conference of Nutrition Stakeholders in the Philippines, UNICEF Country Representative Dr. Nicholas Alipui said he was especially concerned that child malnutrition rate in the country had remained at 30 percent for over a decade.

“Damages to children include lower intelligence, reduced physical capacity, and passing on malnutrition to the next generation. These result in reduction in productivity and sluggish economic growth, which perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Most importantly, every child has a right to be free of malnutrition,” he said.

AIDS taking 'terrible toll' on health workers--WHO:

LUSAKA -- The HIV/AIDS pandemic was taking a "terrible toll" on health workers, the World Health Organization’s top official said Friday, with many communities shorthanded of workers needed to care for those living with the disease.
Speaking in the Zambian capital Lusaka at the launch of the agency's 2006 World Health Report, WHO chief Lee Jong-wook highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the lives of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

"I know that there are great difficulties to [be] overcome," Lee said at the report's three-city launch in Lusaka, Geneva and London.

"I know that HIV/AIDS is taking a terrible toll. It is taking skilled doctors and nurses from the bedside of the sick," he said in a speech.

The report issued on World Health Day on Friday under the banner "Working together for health", stressed the serious shortages of medical staff in poor countries from Asia to Africa.

The WHO said poor countries urgently needed 2.3 million health workers to deal with major diseases such as HIV/AIDS and everyday healthcare.

"The magnitude of the health workforce crisis in the world's poorest countries cannot be overstated and requires an urgent, sustained and coordinated response from the international community," the report warned.


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