Sunday, July 28, 2013

Be a Medical Doctor for Free in the Philippines

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Being a doctor is usually perceived as being costly. Other people usually retire their dreams to statements "I should have been a doctor if I was only rich." Being a doctor is not and will never be a privilege just for the financially fortunate. Being a medical doctor is a calling for a lifetime vocation of service. This is much akin to being a priest, a nun, or a teacher. Funny, I know also of a priest, a nun, and a teacher who also became medical doctors. Two of those were my classmates in medical school at the University of Santo Tomas.

Quit Your Whining or Just Quit Your Medical Dream

Medical Students never quit due to financial problems nor do they quit due to academic stress. I've never heard of a medical student who took his own life because he failed the medical boards. Medical students quit due to the responsibility and/or the realities of the medical profession. You may know all the ideal procedures, diagnoses, and treatments to give to a certain lot of patients but each one has a unique limitation. Many patients will die or become disabled for life because of these limitations. A huge percentage of the patients a doctor will see cannot afford basic antibiotics or emergency surgery. It is these facts that put emotional and physical pressure on medical students and that is why they quit. My guess is that they were never destined to be a doctor in the first place.
Another evolving reason that medical students also quit on is the ROI or return on investment. Nowadays, it takes half a million pesos for the full 5 years in the best medical schools in the country. That is roughly equivalent to $10,000 US dollars. This figure is still cheaper than US tuition which is why many Fil-Ams take their medical education here in the Philippines. This is the wrong reason to take up Medicine. True, 90% of medical students end up comfortably or just above poverty line and only 10% will ever be filthy rich as medical doctors but money should not be part of the game. The quality of care is degraded when money becomes your goal. Your credibility and integrity will be questioned and you will fail early in the game.



If however, you are up for the challenge and/or financially inadequate to become a medical doctor, there are a lot of avenues for getting your medical education for a low cost and sometimes free. I do mean it; there are a lot of reasons for you to continue. I never saw this and I never had anybody backing me up when I hit the National Medical Admissions Test. Even my own parents are skeptic that I'd ever be a doctor. But I did become one. Only at graduation did I knew that some of my professors were actually scholars and some had "angels" that helped them through their medical course. Some even failed their revalidas but became the best doctors and professors. All you need is determination.

So I present one way, and this is only for those who are more than  determined despite all the scary stuff I just outlined above.


The Pinoy MD DOH package

Pinoy MD is a medical scholarship grant that is partnership program of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the Department of Health, and several medical schools.

The program is open  to:

  • INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
  • LOCAL HEALTH  WORKERS
  • BARANGAY HEALTH WORKERS (BHW)
  • DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (DOH) EMPLOYEES

Qualifications:

  • Must have a four-year under-graduate degree with a general weighted average of 2.0 
  • Must not be more than 35 years old upon admission to the program
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Family income of for the indigenous people and BHWs shall not be more than Php 200,000 per annum combined
  • Parents, local health workers, and DOH employees shall have a salary grade 15 and below
  • Must be willing to render 2 years service to the government for every year of the study
  • Must not shift to Nursing nor take a Nursing course after graduation

Scholarship Package

  • National Medical Admission Test Registration Fee
  • Tuition fees
  • Miscellaneous/laboratory Fees
  • Living Subsidy
  • Lodging, transportation, book, and uniform allowances

For Interested Applicants:

Submit the following documents to the DOH Center for Health Development in your region:
  • Transcript of records or Form 137
  • Birth Cerrtificate
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character
  • Certificate of Registration of Parents as BHW
  • Certificate of Employment (as local health worker or DOH employee)
  • Income Tax Return
  • Barangay Certificate/ Identification Card/ Voter's Identification
  • Return Service Contract
This information came straight from the very rare DOH brochure. It is valid up to the time of this writing. Return Service Contract is a contract that they will provide you when you sign up. If you sign up for five years, your return service is 10 years. It's not bad to be in government service but its how you'll pay for your tuition. Now just show me how determined you are.