콘텐츠 바로가기
로그인
컨텐츠
  • HOME
  • SEARCH
PLUS Text Size MINUS RESET
FACEBOOK TWITTER Linked In

Category Open

Development Overview

tutorial

Overview of Korea’s development experience

home

Development Overview
Official Aid Social Infrastructure

Print

Social Infrastructure

National medical center under UNKRA

As another illustrative comparison, assistance to improve medical services and medical standards of Korea’s public health and medical care system was carried out by UNKRA. Under UNKRA’s program, a National Medical Center (NMC) was built through a collaborative work between the Korean Government and three Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, and the Dutch. Besides the construction of a new medical facility, medical personnel necessary to staff and operate the medical center were dispatched by the donor countries. Initially, the Scandinavian countries had dispatched medical staff to Korea under the UN flag as part of war relief efforts during the Korean War to provide badly needed medical services and treatment to wounded soldiers and civilians. Soon after the War, the Korean government requested the UN to continue the program of providing medical treatment and training. Throughout the 1960s, the NMC grew to become one of Korea’s top medical institutions. Unlike private hospitals, the NMC saw a large number of patients since it was a public health program and therefore allowed patients to seek medical care who otherwise could not have afforded to pay health costs.

However, the NMC continued to be largely staffed and operated by expats from the donor countries, totaling 367 foreigners (139 Norway, 134 Sweden, and 94 Denmark) for 10 years. Once their contract period ended and they returned home, the medical center experienced a gradual decline in the quality of care and facilities. Its slow demise led to the takeover of its management by the Korean government, which sought to reform it. However, the situation did not improve under the management of the government, as the NMC continued to experience deterioration in quality of care and facilities due to lack of investments and reduced pay scale for physicians. The uncompetitive pay scale has led to a decline in morale among the physicians, many of whom have sought work elsewhere, and difficulties in retaining and recruiting well-qualified physicians.

Source: Kim, Jun-Kyung and Kim, KS. 2012. Impact of foreign aid on Korea's development. Seoul: KDI School of Public Policy and Management.