The chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health has asked the Commission on Higher Education to allow the reopening of nursing courses owing to the shortage of health care workers, particularly nurses in the country and abroad.
Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, head of the panel, also urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to revisit the moratorium on nursing programs as contained in CHED Memorandum Order 32, which was issued in 2010.
CHED imposed the moratorium on the opening of all undergraduate and graduate programs on nursing and four other courses effective school year 2011-2012 because of the proliferation of colleges offering undergraduate and graduate programs and due to a gradual decline in the performance of nursing graduates, which indicated the deterioration of instruction in the nursing courses.
Tan, in a privileged speech, said that “even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a global shortage of nurses was already projected”. This was highlighted in a World Health Organization report which calls for urgent investment in nursing as the COVID-19 pandemic puts need for nurses into sharp relief.
Tan is a registered nurse who pursued further education to become a physician.
“The role of nurses in our health care system cannot be over emphasized, not only in delivering quality health care but as well as in achieving our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They make critical contributions to the achievement of national and global targets related to a range of health priorities, including universal health care, mental health and communicable and noncommunicable diseases, emergency preparedness and response, patient safety, and the delivery of integrated, people-centered care,” Tan said, adding that “pre-COVID-19 pandemic data reveals that the world does not have a global nursing workforce commensurate with the universal health coverage and SDG targets.”
“Given this backdrop and how it will potentially impact our health
care system, I believe that now is the most opportune time for CHED to assess the relevance of CMO 32. In fact, this representation is urging the Commission on Higher Education to allow other higher educational institutions to open new nursing programs to enable us to produce more nurses,” Tan said.
The World Health Organization’s “State of the World’s Nursing 2020” projects that without action, there will be a shortfall of 4.6 million nurses worldwide by 2030.
In the Philippines, the projected shortfall of nurses is expected to be 249,843 by 2030, unless greater investment is made now to retain them in the Philippine health sector.