End of a Dream

WHEN Elmer Reyes Jacinto announced that he was leaving the country two years ago, he became the poster boy not only for the overseas Filipino workers but also for everything that ails the Philippine health care system: The lack of opportunities for professional growth in the medical field. The meager material rewards for health professionals. The mass exodus of health care workers that has forced dozens of hospitals to close and left many others with skeletal work forces. The thousands of doctors opting to swallow the bitter pill of going back to school to study nursing so that they can work abroad as nurses and earn many times more than what they could ever dream of as doctors practicing in the Philippines.

Jacinto was already a nurse when he studied to be a doctor and then decided to work as a nurse again. A cum laude graduate in Nursing, he went on to finish Medicine magna cum laude at Our Lady of Fatima University and capped his academic achievements by placing first in the medical board exams in February 2004. That would have given him a big edge over the rest of the field had he chosen to stay and train or work here, but to him that was not enough incentive to stay, train and work in his county. The grass looked greener in the land of the greenback, and that was where he wanted to go at the first opportunity.

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