Filipino Doctors: Unappreciated?

Thursday, May 03, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 0 Comments

Filipino doctors seem to get a lot of bad rap – and it’s no surprise that a lot of this scorn and criticism comes from fellow Filipinos. Is this called for? If so, what has caused a lot of Filipinos to look down on their doctors? Are Filipino doctors not proud of their profession?

Filipino Doctors

In addition, why do other countries - remember Desperate Housewives? – feel that Filipino doctors are substandard? Below, I shall share with you some of the reasons for the many racial slurs against Filipino doctors.

Filipino Doctors: Bashed and Criticized on TV

If you have never heard of the racist scene in Desperate Housewives, let me refresh your memory. Susan Mayer, one of the main characters of this sitcom, checks a doctor’s diploma to make sure it wasn’t issued from “some medical school in the Philippines”.

Ouch. I guess this means that the writers of Desperate Housewives, together with Teri Hatcher (who played Susan Mayer in the show) think this jibe is funny. Maybe it is; after all, it is a comedy-drama. But some jokes are funny because they are half-meant. And some jokes aren’t funny at all because they poke fun at an entire country.

But I’m not here to argue about whether or not the scene was racist or not. I want to discuss why Filipino doctors are criticized in the first place.

How would you feel if a foreigner calls Filipinos dirty and smelly after seeing all the garbage here? Such a statement would have made you angry. Why would a racist statement against fellow Filipinos be any better?

Read on and find out why much of the criticism comes from fellow Filipinos. Warning: the information you will come across just might change your point of view.

Filipino Doctors: Bashed by Other Filipinos?

If you don’t believe that Filipino doctors are looked down upon by other Filipinos, read about the stigma of general practice in the Philippines. (In that blog post, you can read the comments of several Filipinos on how many doctors in the Philippines suck.)

I graduated from a university that boasts of its graduates, especially because it almost always has a 100 percent passing rate during physicians’ licensure exams. I am rather proud to have graduated from my Alma Mater. Still, it comes as no surprise to me that many Filipino doctors in general are criticized. And here are a few reasons why this may be the case.

  • The Philippine health system puts a primer on certain Filipino doctors above others. General practitioners, for instances, suffer a certain stigma. Other countries actually require patients to see a general practitioner first before they can make an appointment with specialists, giving general practitioners an important role in the health care system.
  • In the Philippines, general practitioners usually can’t hold clinic in hospitals and are delegated to rural communities. Because cities are seen as more advanced and better equipped, its doctors are also seen in a more positive light. As a result, rural community doctors in the Philippines get the reputation of being “provincial” and “outdated”. Unfair, but true. Keep reading and find out how other doctors earn less than wage earners – and how Filipinos take racism to an uglier level.

Do Filipino doctors really suck? Read on.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!