Danish health care, local tech called a good fit

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Danish health care, local tech called a good fit

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Astrid Krag

Astrid Krag, Denmark’s minister of health, arrived here yesterday to seek greater cooperation in the medical field between the two countries.

With a high-level delegation of representatives from medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, Krag, 31, took part in two seminars in which senior officials from the Danish medical companies Novo Nordisk, LEO Pharma and Falck introduced business and investment opportunities at the Shilla Hotel.

During the first day of her visit, the minister signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health and Welfare and met Jin Young, Korea’s health minister.

The Korea JoongAng Daily met with Krag to discuss Denmark’s health-care system and potential business opportunities between Korea and Denmark.

Q. What’s the main reason for the visit to Korea?

A. I think this is the first time that Denmark’s health minister has visited Korea. I have no doubt that the two countries can gain a lot from cooperation.

Denmark is now trying to establish 16 “super-hospitals” across the country. The hospitals will offer specialized treatment with advanced medical equipment and technology. The project will cost approximately $7 billion in total. We plan to spend 20 percent of that budget establishing an advanced data system for the hospitals.

Korea is at the forefront in technology, so I think this is one way we can foster further cooperation. This is only one example. Both Denmark and Korea face the same challenges: an aging society, a low fertility rate and chronic diseases. The common challenges will help the two countries seek further cooperation in the medical field.

Is there any ongoing project between the two nations in the health-care sector?

Aarhus Municipality in Denmark and the Korea Institute for Science and Technology have entered into a collaboration in robotics. The robot, called “Sil-bot,” was created by KIST and can help the elderly train their memories and cognitive abilities. This is a great example of how the two countries can benefit from cooperation. Korea has excellent medical technology but doesn’t have enough care houses for the elderly to conduct tests. Denmark currently doesn’t have that kind of technology, but we have plenty of health-care facilities. I think Denmark will be a good starting market for such medical technology.

Denmark is known for having a comprehensive welfare system. But in Korea, there are sharp divisions over how the welfare system should operate. How did the Denmark health-care system become so successful?

The most important thing was to make sure that people would get equal and fair access to education and medical services at lower prices than otherwise could have been charged. We needed to explain the advantages in detail and show how ordinary people could take advantage of our welfare policies in their daily lives. This is a truly important step that can be taken.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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