To boost the overall national effort to increase the number of doctors in underserved areas, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has authorized two state universities to open new doctor of medicine programs.
In support of “Doktor Para sa Bayan” and Universal Health Care laws, CHED allowed Cebu Normal University-Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (CNU-VSMMC) and Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) to offer a Doctor of Medicine Program effective Academic Year (AY) 2021-2022.
“The new Doctor of Medicine program in these two SUCs will expand the opportunities for the poor but deserving students through scholarship support under the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act,” said CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III on Wednesday, May 12.
De Vera explained that the Duterte administration will “produce more doctors through our top SUCs, who will go to underserved areas and local governments in need of health personnel.”
These state universities, De Vera added, will also assist the government in providing one doctor per barangay as a way of making primary health care accessible especially in rural or underserved areas, as mandated under Section 25.3.e and f of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.
Citing the Department of Health (DOH), CHED said that the UHC or the Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP) was described as the “provision to every Filipino of the highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed, and appropriately used by an informed and empowered public.”
De Vera noted that the “Doktor Para sa Bayan Law” or RA 11509 signed recently by President Duterte will establish a Medical Scholarship and Return Service (MSRS) program for deserving students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) or in partner private higher education institutions (HEIs) in regions where no SUCs offer a medical course.
“In support of these landmark laws, CHED is aggressively assisting top SUCs develop doctor of medicine programs to address the shortage of doctors across regions of the country,” Vera explained.
CHED said that CNU shall follow a “combination of the Cuban and Canadian model curriculum which balances clinical and population/community based practice” while the WMSU program will focus on Holistic and Integrated Learning in Medicine which “combines problem-based integrated system approach and research-based and values-driven education.”
Since 2020, CHED said that it has has also given funds for the acquisition of equipment in the medical schools of Mariano Marcos State University, University of Northern Philippines and West Visayas State University.
CHED added that more than 1,000 students in the eight SUCs with medical programs have also benefited from the Medical Scholarship program of CHED since 2017.