This afternoon whilst I was browsing my feed, I came across this article about the Philippines offering nurses to UK and Germany in return for COVID 19 vaccines. My initial reaction? I was fuming! I was disgusted of the fact that our government is treating my fellow filipino nurses as a commodity. First you held back those who wanted to go to these countries in search for greener pastures, now you are giving them away in exchange for vaccines.
I was a nurse in the Philippines for 3 years before I moved to the UK and I know the sacrifices of working back home. I mentioned it previously in my other article entitled “Confessions of a UK-PH RN”
I realised that I have never been so discriminated as a nurse than when I was in my own country.-Melissa Rae-
For a little while today, this article made me feel so degraded again as a filipino nurse. My heart beats for my fellow filipino nurses who, like any other nurses in the world, suffered during this pandemic. This and the fact that our government thinks that increasing our salaries are less important than increasing the salaries of police officers and teachers. Why? We have sacrificed our lives even before this pandemic happened. Don’t you think it is time to give us more importance?
As mentioned in the article..
Nurses are among the millions of Filipinos who work overseas, providing in excess of $30bn (£21.3bn) a year in remittances vital to the country’s economy.
But what has the government and this society done for us nurses in return? Exploitation, poor working environment, poor leadership and management by senior nurses in the hospitals, bully doctors and consultants, self-entitled patients, lack of educational support where we need to pay for our own CPD. Our government does not even pay for our tuition fees. In the UK, there was a time when the government encouraged the people to take up nursing and gave free nursing education to everyone interested. Don’t you think it’s time to put your healthcare workers in your priority list instead of hoarding us or trading us? Ask yourselves why we are leaving the country and the fact that hundred thousands of filipino nurses graduate every year and still, there are a lot of vacancies in the hospital and ridiculous nurse-patient ratio! Ugh! You make me angry!
When my partner called me today and asked me how I was, I could not help but tell him my frustration. However, he has a different view with regards to this matter. He calmed me down and empathised about how I felt. Being a managing director of his own company, he can understand why our president sees it as a good strategy for the Philippines as this would get us more vaccines and protect more people in our country. It would save thousands of lives of vulnerable people in exchange of better lives for filipino nurses. He mentioned that the lack of wealth of the Philippines had made our government turn to this resort – treat people as export products. My heart just dropped. In some way, he was right. My remorse and anger was turned into sympathy and sadness towards my country. In my mind was a picture of the president, a father of a poor family begging for food from another wealthy family who has no child, in exchange of one of his children so that all of his children will survive. Our vaccines are donated from China, and we need more! I wanted to cry.
However, I still believe that our country can do better than this. The lack of wealth – where does this come from? Corruption? Capitalism? Education system where we are taught to be workers rather than entrepreneurs and leaders? I am not an expert on this, rather just a surviving nurse who had been a victim of this kind of society. I just know that we all deserve so much more than this! I miss my tropical land! What do you think?
After reading this article that the Philippines actually ordered enough supply of COVID vaccines, I change my mind. I don’t feel any empathy to politicians like this. There is no need to degrade nurses further! Stop this exploitation!