Doctors in the Philippines are turning themselves into nurses in order to obtain medical positions in the United States due to difficulty in having their medical education recognized by Americans. The resulting brain drain is impacting the quality of medical care in the Philippines. The Cuban government has offered to provide much needed doctors since their nation produces a surplus of medical practitioners. Cuban Ambassador Jorge Rey Jimenez told the Philippine government, “We have lots of doctors and medical practitioners. We have offered them to the Philippines” but have yet to receive a response. Cuba now provides 17,000 doctors and dentists to Venezuela in exchange for oil which has resulted in bringing down maternal and child deaths to only one-fifth of their former level.
The United States has one doctor for ever 150 people, Cuba has one for every 159 and the Philippines has one for very 10,000 people. The United States provides military aid to the Philippines, but there is no talk of supplying medical aid such as subsidizing the salaries of Filipino doctors who would commit to remaining in their nation. Consider the good will if Filipinos knew that adequate medical care was a result of America’s commitment to their well being. Instead, we provide guns and ammunitions and planes. In the long run, good teeth and good health might be worth more to the average Filipino than a gun.