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Eliminating the deficit in medical doctors: Strategies and costs

Authors : Clarissa C. David, Geoffrey Ducanes, Jose Luis Vargas Bacigalupo, Shaira Melissa Tengco, and Karol Mark Yee

Program : Program on Higher Education Research and Policy Reform

Abstract : Although there is no consensus on the precise figures, there is wide agreement that there is a severe deficit in the number of practicing medical doctors in the Philippines relative to the accepted standard of 1.1 doctors per 1,000 population. There is a huge, though difficult to quantify, cost in terms of poorer health outcomes for Filipinos as a result of prolonging this deficit. In this paper, we estimate the number of additional doctors and, consequently, medical students needed to eliminate the deficit under different timelines. We then computed the monetary costs of supporting such additional medical students in medical schools under three types of support: (1) tuition and fees only; (2) school fees including living expenses; and (3) medical education plus undergraduate support. Finally, the paper puts forward recommendations on how to begin operationalizing such scholarship programs and on specific topics for further research in support of such programs.

Keywords : Doctor shortage, medical schools, forecast, health, human resources