Korean exports medical expertise to Saudi Arabia

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Korean exports medical expertise to Saudi Arabia

Korean medical systems will be exported to Saudi Arabia under a project called the Medical System Twinning Project, which the Ministry of Health and Welfare said will be a turning point for the domestic medical industry to raise its profile globally by teaching its medical expertise.

The Health Ministry reported Tuesday its Minister Chin Young signed a medical twinning agreement with his Saudi Arabian counterpart Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, through which Korea will export its medical know-how and systems to the oil-abundant Middle East country.

Exporting medical expertise to Saudi Arabia carries significance, as Korea once was a recipient of such knowledge from the United States from 1955 to 1961 under the Minnesota Project.

Under the agreement, major Korean hospitals will set up specialized medical facilities, such as a brain imaging technique center and neuroscience research center at Saudi Arabia’s King Fahad Medical City, a state-run medical institution located in the capital Riyadh, and teach medical knowledge as well as management expertise to medical staff in the country.

Samsung Medical Center, Seoul National University Hospital and Korea Cancer Center Hospital are among the five major hospitals participating in the project.

With the signing of the project, Korea will act as a medical partner for Saudi Arabia’s 10-year plan to improve its medical infrastructure.

Under the agreement, Korea will be tasked with constructing four major medical institutions at four different cities in Saudi Arabia: Tabuk, Taif, Jizan and Al Hasa.

Each institution, which will have 400 hospital beds, will be managed by Korean medical staff for a certain period of time before handing over the management rights to Saudi counterparts.

“Though Saudi Arabia has quality medical facilities, it has faced challenges due to its lack of medical experience and shortage of medical manpower,” said the ministry in a statement released Tuesday.

As part of the project, Korean physicians will be dispatched and demonstrate surgical operationS for Saudi Arabian doctors. Under the agreement, Korea also will be in charge of training 110 Saudi Arabian medical staff.

By Shin Sung-sik, Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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