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
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. Following the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) High-level Meeting for health ministers hosted in Seoul in 2015, Korea assumed chairmanship of the GHSA Steering Group in 2017. As the former chair of the GHSA Steering Group, we are proactively responding to international health threats, such as infectious diseases and bioterrorism in close cooperation with our partner countries.
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
A case in point is our consignment operation of a tertiary hospital in the United Arab Emirates. Since 2012, around 200 Korean medical staff have been managing and operating the Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH) in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE under the auspice of the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
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)
Harnessing our expertise in the medical field, we are now focusing on providing humanitarian aid and transferring knowledge in various forms, including mid to long term medical training through the Dr. Lee Jong-Wook Fellowship Program, which is named after the late WHO Secretary General Dr. Lee. Other forms of support include hospital operation consulting, financial management consulting, human resource allocation, personnel training, and infectious disease control.