RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and South Korea are set to widen cooperation in the health care sector following a joint road show which underlined potential areas of cooperation and showcased world-class health facilities of that country.
The event, titled “Korea-Saudi Health Care Cooperation Road Show,” also discussed ways and means to broaden the excellent working relationship.
“The road show brought together people from the health care industry of the Kingdom and Korea, providing them with chances of finding collaboration opportunities and partners in the private sector,” said Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh.
The event was attended by high-ranking Saudi officials, diplomats and health industry leaders. Prominent among them were Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saeed, deputy minister for public health; Dong-Wook Lee, director general of Korea’s Bureau of Health Industry; Do Bong-Kae, deputy chief of Korean mission; Bok-hyun Nam, health attaché; Seung-mo Yoo, president of the Korea Medical Association; and Yong-Joon Cho, chief of the Bongkoo Bio and Pharma Co. Ltd.
Referring to the signing of the executive program by Riyadh and Seoul to boost cooperation in the health sector in 2012, Ambassador Kwon said that “health care is a relatively new area of cooperation between the two countries.” He pointed out that the bilateral cooperation accord includes education and training of health care professionals, transfer of medical know-how as well as research and development in the health care and pharmaceutical fields.
“Following Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Saudi Arabia in March last year, bilateral relations turned to a new era with two leaders agreeing to expand cooperation in new areas like health care, atomic energy, ICT, creative economy and investment,” said the envoy. Furthermore, human exchanges have been increasing including not only policymakers but also business people, economic organizations, youths and students, he said. “Such interactions like the health road show are forces behind bringing our two countries closer economically despite their geographical distances,” said Dong-Wook Lee, while speaking on this occasion. He explained the most successful elements of South Korea’s health care system, saying that one of the greatest advantages of Korea’s health care is its effectiveness — in terms of both costs and outcomes.
Dong said that the Korean people, as well as foreigners who live in Korea, have access to high-quality health care at a low cost. The administrative cost of the health insurance structure is notably low in South Korea. “This is an opportunity for Saudi and Gulf patients, who can travel to Korea and take advantage of the world-class medical facilities at a comparatively lower cost,” he said. The joint meeting of Saudi and Korean officials on the sidelines of the health care road show discussed areas of bilateral cooperation, the Korean pharmaceutical industry, the approval and registration process of Saudi Food and Drug Authority, the excellence of Korean medical devices industry, operation and maintenance of hospitals besides cooperation between health institutions.
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