The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the delegation from the World Health Organization began a two-day policy consultation, at the Integrated Government Complex in Seoul, on Tuesday.
WHO has held policy consultations major industrial countries, including the United States, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Germany, and health-related institutions such as the Bill Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Foundation, the ministry said in a press release.
That the U.N. agency started to have policy dialogue with the Korean government shows the nation’s upgraded status and role in the global healthcare field, it said.
During the two-day meeting, government officials and their counterparts at WHO will share various data and discuss future cooperation plans in related areas, such as universal health assurance and crisis in public healthcare, based on WHO’s General Programme of Work (2019-2023). The two sides will also reaffirm the need for international cooperation concerning access to medical supplies, as stressed by Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo at the last WHO general assembly.
Government officials plan to ask for WHO’s cooperation in providing data and support needed for discussing the enhancement of access to medical supplies among the international organization’s member nations.
“The ongoing policy dialogue is significant in that the Korean government and WHO have begun discussion for the development of international healthcare,” said Park Min-soo, policy planning officer at the health-welfare ministry.
The meeting is also meaningful in that it helps to expand mutual understanding not only between the health-welfare ministry and WHO but also between the international agency and Korean government ministries and institutions related to global healthcare policy, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Korea Foundation of International Healthcare, Korea International Cooperation Agency, Korea Health Insurance Service, and Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, he added.
Jane Ellison, executive director of WHO, is heading the 12-member delegation.