The Department of Health (DOH) extends valuable health services to the Overseas Filipinos returning to the Philippines from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the 90-day amnesty program offered to workers whose residence permits have expired. This is part of the inter-agency efforts of the Philippine government, specifically the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to facilitate the repatriation of our undocumented workers.
The DOH notes that addressing the health of our Overseas Filipinos is vital and highly relevant for the success of our nation’s efforts to realize the Philippine Health Agenda of “All for Health towards Health for All.” This agenda primarily seeks to ensure equitable access to quality health care for all Filipinos, whether within the country or overseas. “There can be no Universal Health Care for our nation without including our migrant Filipinos,” Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial has stated.
The DOH has issued Department Memorandum No. 2017 – 0191 or the “Medical Assistance for the Repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers using the DOH Medical Assistance Program (MAP),” which provides financial assistance to socially or economically disadvantaged patients seeking medical services at government health facilities. The Filipino overseas workers who have been recently repatriated or are still to arrive from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the benefit of KSA’s Amnesty Program undergo assessment by Social Workers in government health facilities to enable them to access medical/surgical/dental services free of charge under the MAP.
The DOH efforts are part of the Migrant Health program, which aims to address the health issues faced by migrants and provide the needed health services for these Filipinos. Such services are extended throughout their pre-departure and travel periods, into arrival at their destination countries, all the way until they return to the Philippines at the conclusion of their work contracts. This is to ensure that the health of Filipino migrants is always safeguarded, thereby guaranteeing that “no Filipino gets left behind.”
These efforts to facilitate the repatriation of Overseas Filipinos are conducted in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Manila International Airport Authority. As such, the DOH has been attending to the concerns of OFs needing further medical care under the Medical Repatriation Assistance Program (MRAP). Some of the other related services provided by the DOH for these workers are the deployment of rapid response and health mission teams, the regulation of OFW (Pre-Employment Medical Examination) clinics, HIV/AIDS surveillance for OFWs, the PhilHealth Overseas Program, and vaccination services and medical assistance during Hajj Pilgrimage.