MANILA, Jul 4 (Reporting ASEAN) – Halfway into the crucial year of the socio-economic and political integration of countries in Southeast Asia, doctors think mutual recognition of physicians’ skills and qualifications is not yet ready to meet the demands of regional integration.
What also needs to be ready is cultural tolerance —for the foreign doctor to adapt to the overseas country’s conditions, and for the host country’s institutions to welcome their doors to these Southeast Asian physicians. Or even the decrepit health facilities and limited health personnel within a Southeast Asian country.
In essence, skilled labor mobility in Southeast Asia will test regional integration’s handling of overseas migration as one small formula to bring about economic prosperity for all countries in this part of the world.
But that’s only if these neighboring countries’ doors are open: Singapore and Thailand have already “closed their doors” to foreign physicians, says Dr. H. Krishna Kumar, president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
Given the diversity of groups, cultures and languages within an individual member-country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), “a lot needs to be done,” Kumar adds.
Read the first story in this two-part feature set in The Filipino Connection:
The second story can be found here.