The Ministry aims to contribute to improving global health and the welfare system via interactive cooperation with the international community and partner countries.
Overseas Expansion of Korean Healthcare
Notably, Korea joined the WHO Executive Board in 2020 and will serve from 2020 through 2023. Since then, Korea, as a member of the board, has taken a more proactive role in discussions on health agenda.
Furthermore, Korea’s response to COVID-19, the pandemic that swept the world in 2020, has garnered global attention. As a result, we are sharing our experiences on containing COVID-19 with other countries through various channels. In addition, our nation is actively engaged in new initiatives including ACT-A to lead the efforts to resolve global health issues including the equitable distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
With our focus on the WHO, Korea has participated in collaborative efforts to improve global health and welfare as a member of the OECD, ASEAN +3, UN, G20, and APEC.
International Patient Services
To facilitate foreign patient services, the Ministry has a support system in place, ensuring convenient and safe treatments for foreigners across Korea. Medical institutions treating foreign patients arrange interpretation and multilingual medical consultation services, and these hospitals are required to buy compensation insurance for possible adverse events. To officially recognize exemplary hospitals or medical centers, the Ministry has implemented the Korean Accreditation Program for Hospitals Serving Foreign Patients.
From a wide range of regions, including China, the Middle East, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as Russia and other Commonwealth of independent States (CIS), international patients are coming to Korea for treatment. In 2016 alone, more than 364,000 foreign patients received treatment in Korea. This is a 23% increase from the previous year, and this rising trend is projected to continue in the future. An increasing number of these inbound patients are seeking care for cancer, stroke, etc.
Foreign Physician Training
Expanding Medical Services Overseas
Korea’s response to COVID-19 in 2020 has allowed its healthcare to build a positive reputation and trust worldwide, leading to an increased export of medical supplies for disease control and prevention, including diagnostic equipment and reagents, and an growing number of medical institutions advancing into the overseas market.
The Ministry is promoting healthcare cooperation with countries around the world, including information sharing and exchanges, and supporting Korea’s healthcare services to tap into the global healthcare market.
International Patients by Nationality and Treatment (2016)
- china :35.2
- Intermal medicine : 20.0
- Plastic surgery : 11.3
- Dermatology : 11.1
- Medical Check-up center : 9.3
- Orthopedic surgery : 5.7
- Obstetrics and gynecology : 5.4
- Other : 34.1
Welfare Korea Academy (WKA)
Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Taking advantage of our expertise in the healthcare, we are now focusing on providing humanitarian aid and transferring knowledge by various projects and programs, including invitational training program to healthcare professionals through the Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program which was named after the late WHO Director-General to uphold his legacy. In addition, we implement projects in partner countries to strengthen their healthcare systems through the Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Healthcare Promotion Program, Project for Strengthening Capacity of Infectious Disease Control, Hospital Management Technical Cooperation Program, Partnership Project for Universal Health Coverage, Primary Healthcare System Enhancement Project, and Public Private Partnership Project.