Updated on 1 April 2013
Dr Daehee Kang, chairman, board of directors, Korean Association of Medical Colleges, and dean, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea
Dr Daehee Kang, chairman, board of directors, Korean Association of Medical Colleges, and dean, Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea, is an eminent doctor and an administrator based in Seoul. He graduated from Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea, with a major in preventive medicine and has a PhD in environmental health sciences from Johns Hopkins University, US.
He was appointed professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine in 1996 and was a director of external affairs and development of the hospital from 2010-11. His research interests include discovering the biomarkers about the cancer occurrence and the therapeutic effect. He has conducted the high-throughput and genome-wide cancer molecular epidemiological approaches about the breast cancer, childhood leukemia, stomach cancer and bladder cancer. Dr Kang speaks about the latest developments taking place in the domains of medicine and healthcare in South Korea.
What do you think are the healthcare challenges for Korea and Asia Pacific (APAC) in general? How can they be addressed?
Asia holds heterogeneous challenges depending on the country's stage of economic development. Countries with low incomes are faced with poor and differential accessibility to basic health services, prevalent communicable diseases and high infant mortality. On the other hand, high-income countries are confronted with an aging population, a rise in chronic diseases, and a demand of wellness from the public sector. Countries in between the high and low incomes struggle with the issues faced by affluent countries while tackling poverty issues. Likewise, challenges of health inequalities exist within countries depending on the socioeconomic status of the subpopulation.
In terms of healthcare services, providing good insurance coverage to the population is important in the country. More affluent countries have wealthier people and/or the regulatory government who are able to pay for the insurance to ensure coverage. Less affluent countries have more expensive insurance, relative to incomes, and many people are not covered by either universal health insurance systems or employee health insurance systems by law. As such, organizations can collaborate with the public sector, private sector, social enterprises and NGOs to provide financial assistance. For instance, healthcare coverage is of utmost importance in low income countries whereas, new technology development and R&D investment is of main interest in high income countries.
What is stratified medicine and how will it help the healthcare industry in APAC?
The basic concept of stratified medicine is to try and find ways of predicting which treatments are likely to be efficient and most effective in dealing with large group of patients. Especially, COPD, infectious agents, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer patients will benefit from stratification.