(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines needs a total of 106,000 nurses in public and private hospitals nationwide, a health official said Thursday.

In a media briefing, Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country needs other healthcare professionals like doctors, dentists, midwives, medical technicians, pharmacists, and radiologic technologists.

“Sa ngayon, mayroon tayong mga plantilla positions that still need to be filled up sa ating mga ospital (Currently, we have plantilla positions that still need to be filled up in our hospitals) and we have around 624 plantilla positions for our nurses. We have 1,332 midwives, plantilla, and we have around 63 dentists that we needed,” she said.

The shortage in nurses nationwide could be attributed to the migration of healthcare workers, she added.

To solve the gap, the DOH has been pushing bills in Congress and coordinating with key officials from related government agencies.

“Kami po ay nakikipag-usap (We’re coordinating) closely and we have a scheduled meeting, hopefully, next week with the Bureau of Migrant Workers headed by Secretary Toots Ople, and of course, with DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment] with Secretary Laguesma,” Vergeire said.

She noted that provision of incentives may keep healthcare workers from leaving the country.

“Sa mga bansang nagde-deploy ng healthcare workers natin, ano ang pwedeng maging kapalit para sa atin, like scholarships, exchange programs at iba pa, para naman mas magkaroon tayo ng benepisyo from this migration and also, para naman mas magkaroon ng career path ang ating mga healthcare workers going abroad (To the countries deploying our healthcare workers, what can be provided for us, like scholarships, exchange programs, and others, so we can have more benefits from this migration and also, for our healthcare workers going abroad to have a career path),” she added. (PNA)