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Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME): Preparing the OFW for Deployment Overseas

Who conducts pre-employment medical exam (PEME)?

Only accredited medical clinics by DOH-DOLE-POEA-MARINA are allowed to perform the procedures. Depending on the situation, competent medical staff will assist / administer the exams.

Why are PEMEs necessary?

Pre-employment medical examinations are intended to determine if an applicant is healthy enough to go overseas and seek employment. The objective is to deploy healthy workers to help minimize the risk of repatriation in the future. The examination is designed to identify any high-risk disorder or condition that may affect an applicant’s ability to perform the job he is hired for. The exam may also help determine the applicant's safe level of activity, which can have an impact on job performance. If an existing potential problem is identified during the procedure, action can be taken to avoid future problems for the job seeker and the employer.

The extent of the physical varies among principals (hiring country), but the goals of the exam are generally the same. One of  the goals of the exam is to evaluate:

  • General health and well being of the applicant.
  • Any condition that might increase the risk of complications and injuries.

What happens during a pre-employment medical examination?

There are three components of the physical: the "history" and the “physical exam” and “laboratory test”. The history is an important tool in identifying conditions that may affect an applicant’s ability to be deployed overseas for taking a job. Issues addressed during the history include:

  • Family history of serious illnesses.
  • History of excessive weight loss or gain.
  • Eye diseases or use of contact lenses,
  • Ear trouble or deafness,
  • Head and neck injury,
  • Fainting spills, dizziness. 
  • Frequent headaches,
  • Heart disease & rheumatic
  • High blood pressure,
  • Asthma or Allergies,
  • Tuberculosis or Chronic cough,
  • Endocrine disorders:
  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • Thyroid disease,
  • Stomach pain, ulcers,
  • Liver & Gallbladder disease,
  • Kidney or Urinary bladder disease.
  • Disease of genitals or breast,  
  • Rheumatism, joint or back, 
  • Hernia  or hemorrhoid, 
  • Sexually transmitted disease,
  • Typhoid or Dengue fever,
  • Malaria,   
  • Genetic or familial disease,
  • Mental disorders,
  • Cancer or tumor,
  • Previous operations,
  • Use of tobacco, drugs, dietary supplements or alcohol.
  • Menstrual history for women
  • Others not mentioned above.

The focus of the physical exam might include an evaluation of:

  • Height and weight
  • Vision: Acuity and color test
  • Hearing (Audiogram)
  • Blood pressure & Pulse  
  • Head and neck
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen
  • Genitals and breast
  • The examination will also include an evaluation of musculoskeletal features, such as posture, spine, joint, gait and function of the arms and legs.
  • Laboratory Examinations:
  • Chest X-Ray
  • ECG for 40 years of age and with Cardiovascular findings
  • Audiogram
  • Psychometrics
  • Complete Blood count
  • Blood typing
  • Blood Chemistries if required by employer
  • Urinalysis & Fecalysis
  • Special Tests: Hepatitis-B (Screening Test ); VDRL; HIV;  Drug Test: (Methamphetamine-Shabu; Cannabinod - Marijuana ) .  
  • Pregnancy Test: for women.

Dental Check-up: Treatment/filling or extraction maybe required.

How to prepare for PEME?

Please note that blood pressure and pulse levels as well as cholesterol and sugar readings can be elevated by stress, diet, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. To obtain the best possible results during your pre-employment exam, please review the following suggestions:

  • Most accredited clinics accept applicant for PEME on a first come first serve basis.
  • On your own, schedule your exam at a time when you are not rushed to minimize elevated blood pressure and pulse readings.
  • Try to get a good sleep the night before the examination so that you are completely rested.
  • You should fast (nothing by mouth) for at least eight hours prior to the examination unless otherwise instructed.
  • Do not smoke, chew tobacco or drink coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks for at least 8 to 12 hours prior to your examination.
  • Try to abstain from alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours prior to the exam. 
  • Do not engage in strenuous exercise or physical activities for 24 hours prior to your examination. Physical exertion can temporarily elevate some laboratory results.
  • Limit salt intake like canned and preserved foods and high cholesterol foods for at least 48 hours before your exam.

The above guidelines should aid you in obtaining the best possible results from your PEME examination.

In addition, to expedite the completion of exam, advise the medical staff/examiner with regard to any medication you are taking, including all non-prescription medications.

Be honest. Have a list of physician names, addresses, dates of past visits, prescribed medication and any information regarding injury, major illness, surgical operations or on-going medical conditions.

When is a pre-employment medical exam appropriate?

There is hard and fast rule about when an applicant should have a pre-deployment physical but three months before departure is the time limit for expiration of the PEME. If physical is scheduled too near the departure date, there may not be enough time for an applicant to accomplish all medical requirements  and the  applicant may not be cleared to leave the country.

What happens if the doctor finds a problem?

The exam helps the doctor identify any conditions or problems that might make the applicant unfit to leave. If a problem is discovered, often the doctor and applicant can work together to develop a plan to put a solution to a problem.

If the doctor finds a problem, he or she might recommend certain tests and a follow-up exam. In many cases, the doctor can suggest treatment or a plan to correct the existing condition. The physician conducting the exam also works with applicant and employer, who can help ensure the applicant’s safety during his tenure of assignment.

If there are no abnormal findings during the exam, the individual will be cleared to be deployed overseas.

What and how long will it take to accomplish exam?

Typically, a PEME is a brief, 20- to 30-minute procedure consisting of a review of your medical history as well as height and weight, blood pressure and pulse measurements, visual acuity, hearing capacity (Audiogram), Chest x-ray, Psychometrics and Dental check-up (treatment). Pregnancy test is also required before Chest X-ray is performed for women.

How long is the report submitted as final result?

For clean cases, meaning no abnormal findings, the results are ready for submission and pick-up within 24 hours.

The examination is an assessment of the applicant’s health condition. The doctors and the medical staff evaluate the comprehensive medical examination.

If the examination reveals nothing abnormal, the doctor will sign a form stating the applicant is fit for employment.

Good Luck.

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