Many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) return home because of disease or accidents that require hospitalization for treatment. In honor of their sacrifices and contribution to the economy, specially-designated hospital wards for OFWs will be put up in government health facilities, based on a multi-agency Memorandum of Agreement.

A total of 70 wards across all Department of Health-run hospitals will be up by the end of 2017, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial announced during the MOA signing. "Having a special ward for OFWs is a way of giving importance to our modern heroes," she said.

For the project, the DOH will be closely coordinating with the Department of Labor and EMployment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the Governors League of the Philippines, and the ACTS OFW Party list.

Initially, the OFW-dedicated ward will be pilot-tested in Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga. It is a Level III tertiary teaching and training hospital with a 500-bed capacity.

The Pampanga medical facility is in Region 3, home to many overseas workers, according to a proponent of the OFW wards, Rep. Anicerto Bertiz III of the ACTS-OFW Party Partylist.

Government-operated hospitals as far as Lanao del Norte and Cotabato provinces have likewise agreed to designate special wards. Makati City in Metro Manila has also expressed interest.

Aside from OFWs needing treating, the special wing will be exclusive for Filipinos leaving for work abroad who need to undergo pre-employment medical examination,” he was quoted by te Inquirer as saying.

In addition, chemotherapy, hemodialysis as well as treatment for other diseases will be available to OFWs free of charge.

Secretary Ubial noted that the project is part of the department’s program for migrant health, and that countries with large populations of OFWs - such as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, United States and Geneva, Switzerland - will have designated health attaches.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano havethrown their support behind the project.

Funds for the OFW ward project will come from the Hospital Facility Enhancement fund of the DOH. MIMS

Read more:

Serving 'unreached' segment of the population through 'The Last Mile' programme
PH: Surgical Caravan kicks off in Marinduque; 91 patients served
The rewarding field of occupational therapy in the Philippines