Wednesday, February 23, 2011

H-Gamca clinics release list of diseases that make OFWs unfit to work in Mideast countries - Pinoy Abroad - GMA News Online - The go-to site for Filipinos everywhere - Latest Philippine News

MANILA, Philippines - The Gulf Cooperation Council-(GCC) Accredited Medical Clinics Association (Gamca) recently released the list of diseases that would render overseas Filipino workers (OFW) unfit to work in GCC countries

Under the hiring policies of GCC states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, foreign workers from the Philippines and other Asian countries are required to pass the medical tests conducted only by Gamca clinics.

Migrant groups and recruitment agencies have scored the Gamca for reportedly operating like a cartel or “mafia," saying these clinics connive with each other to reap profit by unnecessarily repeating tests and charging exorbitant medical fees.

Amid such complaints, Gamca president Dr. Rodolfo Punzalan decided to publish the list of diseases that make OFWs, by their standards, unfit to work in GCC countries.

These include:

Infectious category
• HIV/AIDS reactive
• Hepatitis B surface antifgen, HCV reactive
• Microfilaria positive and malaria blood film positive, known leprosy patients
• Tuberculosis – any type, X-ray showing active PTB, past evidence of PTB or healed • Pulmonary scar, including minimum fibrosis, calcification (granuloma) pleural thickening, pleural effusion, tuberculosis lymphadenitis
• VDRL/TPHA reactive

Non-infectious category
• Chronic renal failure
• Chronic hepatitis failure
• Congestive heart failure
• Hypertension
• Diabetes mellitus
• Known case of cancer
• Psychiatric disease and neurological disorders
• Physical disabilities, i.e. color blindness, deafness

Punzalan said that they are being strict with the screening of applicants because if the workers are deemed unfit to work at the jobsite itself, it would cause them more problems.

“We will be the ones to suffer in case these applicants are found to be unfit in medical exams conducted abroad by their employers or the host countries and we will have to reimburse the plane fare and face suspension of our clinics with the foreign embassy concerned," he said in a statement.
With this in mind, he said all seventeen of their member clinics have upgraded their equipment and facilities to the standards set by the GCC Health Ministries.

A yearly inspection and re-evaluation is also reportedly done in all Gamca clinics that use state-of-the-art equipment and fourth generation reagents especially on Hepatitis C.

“[Gamca clinics will not] compromise the integrity and reputation of their member clinics just to allow several unfit applicants to work abroad," he said.
Punzalan said he is also “reaching out" to manpower agencies through a meeting on March 25 at the Philippine Columbian Club so that all matters regarding medical exams may be resolved. - GMANews.TV

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