KSA urgently needs 600 Muslim nurses, says POEA

MANILA, Philippines — Saudi Arabia urgently needs 600 Muslim nurses to work in government hospitals in the holy cities of Makkah (Mecca) and Madinah (Medina), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Outgoing POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz said a recent communication from the Saudi Ministry of Health said the nurses need not have prior experience as long as they are licensed and belong to the Muslim faith.

Under Saudi law, only Muslims are allowed to enter Makkah and Medina, although exceptions are made depending on the necessity.

Baldoz said Saudi Arabia has also an existing demand for 5,000 nurses to be employed in government-owned hospitals such as the King Faisal Specialists Hospital and King Abdulaziz hospital in other parts of the Kingdom.

Baldoz said non-Muslim nurses can also apply provided they have the necessary two-year work experience in a tertiary hospital and training and have passed the Philippine nursing licensure examination.

The Philippine Nursing Association (PNA) earlier reported that the country has over supply of nurses because of the dwindling demand for the nurses abroad.

But Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said there is still a high demand for nurses abroad, with Saudi Arabia alone “in need of 10,000 nurses for their public hospitals."

Filipino nurses are highly sought in Saudi Arabia, which currently hosts some one million Filipino workers.Roque said Canada and Australia also now require nurses..

“Canada and Australia need nurses and these are the other markets that we’re also looking into," he said.

Labor analysts have said the demand for foreign nurses have gone down because the US and Britain are trying to train their own nurses.

However, experts said, the boom in nursing is expected to happen again soon as the populations of many of the world’s wealthy countries are aging.