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‘Medical Hallyu’ lands in Middle East
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2017.08.16 14:13
  • Updated 2017.08.16 14:13
  • comments 0

Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) celebrated Sunday the third anniversary of its operation of Sheikh Khalifa Special Hospital (SKSH), one of the events indicating Korean medical service’s successful landing in the Middle East.

Related: Korea made 155 medical advances to 20 countries last year

SNUH signed a five-year consignment operating agreement with the United Arab Emirates government in August 2014 and has since run the UAE hospital by dispatching medical workers and applying its healthcare system.

A total of 228 Korean doctors, nurses and other medical worker are working at the hospital along with 1,000 international staff. The Korean operators have treated 60,360 outpatients and 99,362 emergency patients as well as conducted 1,892 surgeries, without a single case of a medical accident so far, SNUH officials said.

A Korean doctor treats a patient at the Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

SKSH, established as a tertiary medical institution specializing in cancer, brain, nerve and heart disease with 246 beds, has been expanding its business territory by, for instance, providing health check-up services for Korean residents in the Middle East country.

SKSH has also passed the international certification of medical institutions, the Joint Commission International (JCI) known for demanding high standards, receiving high marks.

The Korean operators have also made considerable efforts to train medical professionals in UAE to improve the country’s healthcare system.

SNUH’s success reflects the Korean medical industry’s efforts to expand abroad, including the Middle East, under the government’s support, business and government officials say.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute announced in May that the country signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Dubai Health Authority to increase cooperation in the fields of rehabilitation, cancer, and orthopedics, at the fourth Dubai (DHA) Transformation Forum.

The ministry said that Korea’s healthcare sector had gained increased recognition in the UAE. In 2016, a total of 3,562 UAE patients visited Korean hospitals for consultation and treatment spending around 42.5 billion won ($37.3 million) in last year alone.

Related: SNUH transplants liver to UAE patient using ‘dream tech’

The ministry also signed an MOU with Qatar’s military service headquarters to cooperate in the field of healthcare earlier this year.

Seoul National University Bundang Hospital has also expanded its medical expertise to the Middle East, exporting its hospital information system to Saudi Arabia by signing a $5-million contract with the Royal Commission Health Service Program in May.

Related: SNUBH wins $5 million contract for hospital information system

“The fact that Seoul National University Hospital was selected as SKSH's operating agency signals increased recognition of Korea's medical level and management ability," said Dr. Sung Myung-whun, CEO of Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital. "All employees dispatched to SKSH are always proud to represent Korea and will do their utmost to transfer our medical expertise and culture to the Arab world."


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