| More Aid Available for Overseas Adoptees|
By Bae Keun-min
The government will unveil a set of measures to support overseas Korean adoptees within this year, including building an international network to help them learn more about their roots, a top government official said.
Kim Geun-tae, minister of health and welfare, Wednesday told reporters that the government will be positively involved in building Korean language schools abroad and produce textbooks for the schools.
When he was visiting Europe, Kim had the chance to talk with some adoptees in their 30s and 40s. ``Even while they lead successful lives, they still face challenges regarding their identity,'' Kim said.
Kim said he promised to support them in organizing a global network for overseas Korean adoptees and establishing a Web site. Kim said the government will also create programs to encourage companies to hire adoptees.
Last year, 2,258 children were adopted overseas, while 1,641 found new homes here.
Kim also said the government has prepared a detailed draft to expand public health and medical services with an investment of 4.3 trillion won for the next five years.
The National Medical Center will be expanded to become the main public hospital of the nation, which will focus on the study and treatment of chronic and incurable disease, in a move to consolidate public medical services.
According to the draft, the National Medical Center will be amplified, while the government will help hospitals of national universities build hospitals solely for senior citizens or children, as well as regional cancer centers.
``The role and capability of the nation's public medical services will be enhanced to the level of advanced nations,'' Kim said.
The number of beds at public hospitals accounts for 18.5 percent of the total here, while that in France, Germany and Japan make up 64.8 percent, 48.5 percent and 35.8 percent, respectively.
The plan has been mapped out in response to the rapidly aging population and increases in chronic diseases, causing the financial burden of medical costs to people.
The ministry will establish a network of public and private medical organizations, while adopting an authentication system for private hospitals, through which the government is to offer certified private hospitals with support equivalent to those available for public hospitals.
Other plans included are the construction of regional rehabilitation centers, hospices for cancer patients at national university hospitals, regional-specific medical centers such as those for farmers and miners, and e-health business through standardized informatization of health and medical data.
The ministry on Wednesday held a public hearing for the draft. After a final review in a Cabinet meeting, a final version will be concluded in mid-June.