| The 1 trillion won (930 U.S. million dollars) project to transfer Korea`s Hospital Information System to Saudi Arabia is in its arrange stage. When completed, the project will mark the first case of exporting Korea`s medical IT following medical devices and drugs exports. The transfer will be made to 3,000 healthcare centers and 80 public hospitals in the Middle Eastern country.
Korea`s Health and Welfare Minister Chin Young and Saudi Arabia`s Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabiah signed Sunday a healthcare and medical agreement containing above content. The executive agreement that has legal effect will be signed within two months. The two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding in April.
The latest agreement is meaningful in that it took the form of government-to government cooperation, instead of a private overseas advancement. Though details will have to be discussed before the executive agreement is made, Korea`s welfare ministry says there is low chance of the agreement being turned down since the two countries share a deep confidence between each other that goes back to the Middle East construction boom.
The program to transfer medical technologies to Saudi Arabian medical doctors starts March next year. The two countries confirmed a formal contract on the matter. Saudi Arabian medical doctors will each pay 3,000 dollars per month as training fee, and will be dispatched to five hospitals including Seoul National University Hospital, Severance Hospital, Asan Medical Center and St. Mary`s Hospital. Korea`s medical centers target 100 doctors on annual average.
The so-called "medical system twinning project" that aims to transfer Korea`s medical environment to Saudi Arabia is also showing visible achievements. Samsung Medical Center, jointly with King Fad Medical City, will build a brain tissue bank over the next two years as the first stage project. Brian tissue bank is a facility that stores brain tissues of patients that are identified during surgery or test, and is necessary for study of brain tumor or dementia.
Minister Chin said, "A globally universal medical training takes the form of official development assistance, but the Saudi training program is different. Strictly speaking, it is a medical technology export project."
Mashael Al Mashael, director for Korea at Saudi Arabia`s health ministry, said, "in the 1990s, Korean companies including Hyundai Engineering & Construction built hospitals at Saudi Arabia. Now, Korea`s IT boasting of the world`s top level will be introduced there and Korea`s brain tissue bank will be built."