Healthcare professionals travel to South Korea for world-class training

Image credit: Source: Seoul National University Hospital

South Korea’s healthcare industry is one of the best in the world. Backed by state-of-the-art medical infrastructure, specialists across the country are leading the way by conducting a large number of clinical trials and achieving high survival rates for chronic diseases and the best results in surgery and recovery.

With such positive results, it’s no surprise that medical specialists from all over the world have traveled to South Korea to learn the latest techniques. One of the most renowned surgeons to travel to Korea to learn some of these methods was Dr. James Eason, director of the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in the United States, who also performed the liver transplant on the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.

Medical Korea Academy (MKA), hosted by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), is a training program that aims to impart Korean advanced medical knowledge and skills to overseas specialists.

Every year, many doctors from the United States, Europe and the Middle East travel to Korea to participate in the training programs offered by various hospitals. Between 2007 and 2020, 1,392 healthcare professionals from 55 countries participated in the prestigious MKA program. The top five countries to send the most physicians for the training program were Saudi Arabia (314), Mongolia (250), Russia (146), China (116) and Kazakhstan (115) .

For doctors here in the Gulf, the Korea Medical Education Program (KMTP) has proven to be very successful.

Following an agreement with Saudi Arabia in September 2013, the program began in the region, which allowed the country’s doctors to study in Korea. A total of 161 Saudi doctors completed the program between 2014 and 2020.

An agreement was then signed with the Kuwait Ministry of Health in May 2016 and with the Dubai Health Authority and the Royal Medical Services of the Bahrain Defense Force in 2018. The Oman Medical Specialties Board began to send medical professionals to Korea in 2019. A total of 311 doctors and dentists in the Middle East have participated in the program since 2014.

Through all of these agreements, healthcare professionals in the Middle East have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the latest medical advancements available in Korea. In addition, they also have access to research activities, academic conferences and other interesting opportunities to learn more about the cutting-edge care provided in the country.

Dr Adel Saeed Alghamdi from Saudi Arabia is one of the professionals from the region who has traveled to Korea to specialize.

“I decided to come to Korea because I knew that Korea had a high level of education in medical sciences and that it was scientifically and technologically advanced,” he said. “Also, because I came to Korea with my family, I got to experience many aspects of Korean culture and environment. I not only learned medical skills, but also how to distribute difficult tasks, constantly update new medical information and work as a team with new technologies from professors and my colleagues.

As Dr Alghamdi discovered, the program offers advanced training at select hospitals so that medical staff in the Middle East can gain clinical experience in their area of ​​specialization. Clinical specialties include everything from anesthesiology and pain medicine diagnostics to radiology and neurosurgery.

To join the program, participants can apply online and select the department and faculty of the hospital of their choice. Visas are then arranged and a pre-training program follows, which consists of compulsory Korean language training, followed by observation training in a hospital. Candidates can then apply for practical medical practice and spend one to two years participating in clinical training at the hospital.

However, these prestigious training programs are not limited to doctors, dentists are also covered. KHIDI offers advanced dental training programs at various training hospitals so that dentists in the Middle East can gain dental clinical experience in their area of ​​specialization. It offers residency training in six specialties, which include conservative dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics.

These training programs are designed to provide doctors from other countries with the opportunity to deepen their medical knowledge and skills and gain a better understanding of Korean medical services. Moreover, by participating in these programs offered at various medical institutions in Korea, doctors who wish to deepen their knowledge can now bring the latest cutting edge treatments back to their own hospitals and regions.

And, with the Covid-19 pandemic having changed the way people work and learn, it is also possible to acquire some of the innovative techniques without leaving the country. MKA currently offers an online class, providing online education for physicians who want to learn about the latest techniques, including surgical skills, such as pancreatic and colorectal gastrointestinal surgery.

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