The Northern Health Region (NHR) has gone global in an attempt to bring health workers to the north.
A delegation from the NHR, consisting of two staff members, headed to the Philippines earlier this month as part of a provincial health worker recruitment drive. The duo was part of a larger group covering Manitoba service delivery organizations (SDOs) that headed to the southeast Asian nation, hoping to bring qualified Filipino health professionals to the north. The group went through three Filipino cities during a week-long visit, the first of its kind.
“We [had] two of our staff from the NHR in the Philippines taking part in the health care recruitment mission for the province of Manitoba. All the SDO’s in Manitoba had delegates attend this recruitment mission,” reads a statement from an NHR spokesperson.
“They were in Manila from February 21-23 and in Cebu and Iloilo February 24-25. This is the first time that the NHR has participated in this type of recruitment.”
Filipino health workers have served in northern Manitoba for at least 50 years, with many people originally from the Philippines eventually moving to the north full-time and staying in the region with their families. However, those workers were never directly recruited from the Philippines by the NHR - hires from the country were often done through agencies, clinics and provincial bodies.
The NHR sees the trip as a new strategy to combat low staffing levels, something that has plagued the region for years. Last year, the NHR cut services in three northern communities, citing a lack of staff as the cause of the cuts. In the past, services in Flin Flon like birth and obstetric care and day surgery were also cut due to a lack of staff.
“In terms of Filipino recruitment, we welcome a multicultural workforce in the region and we know that family and friends attract other family and friends - we welcome that happening,” said the NHR spokesperson.