The chairperson of the House Committee on Health on Monday, May 17, urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to lift the moratorium on the opening of new programs for nursing amid the shortage of nurses in the country and in many parts of the world.
Rep. Angelina Tan (NPC, Quezon) also called on the House of Representatives to review the CHED-imposed moratorium that was issued in 2010, longe before the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic caused massive effects to international health system, especially the shortage of medical professionals.
The moratorium contained in CHED Memorandum Order No. 32 was imposed on the opening of all undergraduate and graduate programs on nursing and four other courses starting the school year 2011-2012.
CHED cited as reasons for the suspension of new course offers the proliferation of colleges opening said graduate and undergraduate programs and the reported decline in the performance of nursing education graduates.
Tan aired her appeal in a privilege speech delivered at the resumption of regular sessions Monday.
She noted that shortage in nurses worldwide had already been project “even before the COVID-19” pandemic devastated public health systems in many countries.
Tan said a World Health Organization (WHO) report underscored the urgency of investing in nursing even as the COVID-19 pandemic stressed the need for more nurses to care for infected individuals.
“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),” said Tan.
“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”, she explained.
The administration solon also stressed 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 No. 32,” she said.
Tan pointed out: “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.”
The WHO report, “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.