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Korea enhances healthcare coop with UAE, Bahrain
  • By Kwak Sung-sun
  • Published 2018.03.30 14:59
  • Updated 2018.03.30 14:59
  • comments 0

A delegation of the Korean health authorities visited the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain from Saturday to Wednesday to solidify cooperation for the Middle East’s healthcare sector, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday.

The delegation included officials from the health and welfare ministry, the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) and the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA).

The visitors met their Emirian counterparts to discuss the UAE government’s support of medical costs and accommodation fees for patients who travel to Korea to get treatments. The discussion also included various healthcare agendas such as sending Emirian medical staffs to Korea for training and Korean drugmakers entering the pharmaceutical market in the UAE.

Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo (third from right) shakes hands with his Emirian counterpart during a visit to Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH) in the UAE.

Emirian patients receive the support from the Armed Forces of UAE and Abu Dhabi Health Authority to travel to Korea for medical care. The number of such patients shot up from 1 in 2011 to 850 in 2017.

The Korean government officials said the government and the private sector are working together to create a Middle East-friendly environment by providing not only world-class medical services but Halal food and prayer rooms.

“Most of the Emirian patients going to Korea suffer from serious diseases such as cancer and require serious treatments such as transplant, and they are delighted with treatment results,” said Mohamed Murad al-Bloushi, commander of joint logistics, who is in charge of sending Emirian patients to Korea.

He went on to say, “We look forward to cooperating with Korea continuously in medical services.”

The Dubai Police Force said it would review changing destinations for patients at police-affiliated hospitals to Korea from Thailand and Singapore.

The KHIDI signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Health Authority to allow medical staffs working under the Dubai Health Authority to receive medical training in Korea.

Officials at the Dubai Health Authority hoped that their physicians could learn not only Koreans’ superior clinical competence but the efficient medical system.

The officials also visited Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH), run by Seoul National University Hospital since 2015 under the leadership of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to encourage Korean staffs and listen to their difficulties.

The SKSH has 801 employees, including 215 Korean staffs, promoting the excellence of Korean medical service through competitions with international hospitals in the UAE.

Following their UAE schedule, the health and welfare ministry officials also visited Bahrain for an MOU between the Korean ministry and Bahraini counterpart for healthcare cooperation.

With the latest visit, Korea and Bahrain have expanded cooperation in healthcare for patient sending, training of medical staffs, and exchange of experts. The HIRA and Bahrain’s Supreme Council of Health are working together to establish a national health review and assessment system in Bahrain.

The HIRA signed an agreement to start negotiations for the maintenance and repair of Bahrain’s national health review and assessment system for the next five years. The agency also concluded an additional contract worth 1.7 billion won ($1.58 million) to develop National Electronic Medical Repository, enhancing IT cooperation in healthcare with Bahrain.

“Korea and the UAE have upgraded their relationship through a strategic partnership. Our visit will become an opportunity for the two countries to enhance healthcare cooperation, besides the traditional cooperation fields such as construction and energy,” Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo said.

The collaboration between Korea and Bahrain for the healthcare IT system sector will expand into medical staff training and Korean drugmakers’ entry into Bahrain, he added.


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