STUDENTS in Central Visayas who aspire to be doctors but can’t afford the tuition can avail themselves of a medical scholarship the Cebu Normal University (CNU) is offering in partnership with the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).
During a press conference attended by Commission on Higher Education (Ched) officials on Monday, May 24, 2021, the two institutions announced that their Doctor of Medicine program will start this year.
In his speech, Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., VSMMC chief, said they proposed the idea of establishing a College of Medicine with CNU three years ago.
He said many doctors also want to leave a legacy to Philippine health care by providing the disadvantaged sector the opportunity to attend a topnotch non-technical school.
The CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine aligns its program with Republic Act (RA) 11509, or the Doktor Para sa Bayan Act, which provides government-subsidized medical education scholarships to students with a return-service mechanism.
Aquino said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for more doctors, particularly in rural or underserved areas.
The program prioritizes to generate more doctors in the country and to have more doctors available in hospitals for the successful implementation of the Universal Health Care Act that ensures Filipinos have proper access to health care services, said Aquino.
Dr. Prospero de Vera III, Ched chairman, said the CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine is the first public university they authorized under RA 11509.
He said Ched will make sure that the program is adequately funded, adding that they will provide around P30 million for the acquisition of educational equipment.
Under the return-service program, students who graduate from the CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine must render service in the barangays for four years.
De Vera said the CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine “will follow a combination of the Cuban and Canadian model medical course curriculum highlighting a balance between clinical and population/community-based practice.”
The CNU-VSMMC College of Medicine occupies the entire third floor of the VSMMC laboratory building, but will soon transfer to the Cancer Center within the year.
Aquino eyes to construct a 4,000-square-meter building for the College of Medicine soon.
Dr. Filomena Dayagbil, CNU president, said for school year 2021 to 2022, they will accommodate one section with 40 students.
She said enrollment, which has started, can be accessed through their website www.cnu.edu.ph.
“We have disseminated our information through our dean of the College of Medicine, and on our website you can see all the requirements, the process flow of the application and all the needed info,” she said.
Dayagbil encouraged students, regardless of age, who are interested in becoming doctors in rural areas to apply to the program. (KFD)