The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said on Tuesday it has proposed a 64.24 trillion won ($56.8 billion) budget for 2018, up 11.4 percent from 2017.
The budget accounts for 15 percent of the total government expenditure of 429 trillion won and 43.9 percent of the total welfare sector expenditure of 146.2 trillion won.
Of the 62.24 trillion won proposed, the ministry sought a 12.6 percent increase in social welfare sector and a 5.5 percent rise in the health sector.
A large portion of the budget is set to be spent in creating more jobs and taking care of the low-income families, children, the elderly and the disabled.
In an effort to support the Moon Jae-in administration’s key health care pledges, the health ministry also plans to improve care for dementia patients as well.
Besides improving and reorganizing dementia support centers, the ministry plans to newly allocate 9.8 billion won in developing technologies regarding prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of dementia patients.
Meanwhile, the overall budget for public health services, disease management and medical infrastructure will increase.
The health ministry복지부 has also set aside a new fund worth 1.4 billion won for the installment of a national disaster trauma center.
The ministry also plans to add new criteria regarding R&D in health and pharmaceutical industry to cope with the 4th industrial revolution.
New budget plans include spending 11.5 billion won to build big data platform for healthcare, 11.4 billion won for R&D of a life care convergence service, and 2.8 billion won for R&D of technologies to converge artificial intelligence with medical robots.
Another 3.6 billion won will be spent to create a bio-health technology business ecosystem and 4.6 billion won to strengthen the competitiveness of medical device industry.
About 29 billion won will be used for R&D for medical device industry and 28.5 billion won will go to R&D for technologies to respond to anti-infectious disease crisis.
“Under the new government’s slogan of ‘people-centered and income-driven growth,’ we plan to lay the groundwork for an inclusive welfare state, a society in which all individuals can enjoy economic growth and welfare services and feel valued as human beings,” a ministry official said.
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