Playing pivotal roles in fostering global healthcare workers
Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program
It was Yeouido Airport in Seoul in 1955 where twelve young Korean doctors were on board departing for Minnesota. It was the very beginning of the "Minnesota Project," a Korean aid program initiated by the International Cooperation Administration (ICA) of the U.S. A total of 77 Korean medical personnel participated in the seven-year projects. After taking training courses ranging from simple treatments such as basic medicine and blood collection to high-level surgical procedures such as heart surgery, they introduced a clinical-centered modern medical system to Korea. Such changes are still being made in developing countries through “Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program” initiated by KOFIH.

- Article: Jeong Ra-hee / Photography: Maju Snap
Laid the foundation for self-sustained growth of healthcare in partner countries even in the pandemic situation in 2021
KOFIH successfully operated the "Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program" in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 117 fellows who invited from 12 countries completed seven training courses composed both of online and offline training. To prevent infection, comprehensive management was conducted by offering vaccination and accommodation for quarantine for trainees. The COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity to realize the necessity of establishing the infectious disease management system in partner countries and fostering the medical professionals.

Against such a backdrop, KOFIH has established and operated the training course for infectious disease specialists, according to the demand of partner countries. Twenty three doctors and epidemiological investigators from eight countries participated in and completed the courses on policy and epidemiology, clinical treatment and diagnostic tests. In addition, the complex ODA (ODA for the challenged) course for physical therapists and nurses, has been resumed to reinforce expertise in rehabilitation sector in partner countries.

Strengthening network through communication and solidarity
On July 7, KOFIH held an integrated invitational meeting, inviting fellows taking 2020-2021 degree course who did not have a chance to visit the KOFIH HQ due to the spread of COVID-19. The meeting, attended by 26 trainees from five countries, was organized to improve the trainees’ sense of belonging to the Program while increasing their understanding on the invitational training.

Furthermore, KOFIH organizes and operates KOFIH Global Alumni (KGA) for the fellows of Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program as a network that allows them to effectively spread their experiences and skills accumulated during the training course after returning to their home countries. This year, a new alumni was formed in Ghana with a launching ceremony while a general meeting of alumni was held online in Laos.

In addition, 11 global alumni activities organized by trainees from six countries were conducted, such as local knowledge-sharing workshops and campaigns. Such activities were selected through the review of proposals by KOFIH and external experts. To be specific, Tanzania conducted education on preventive maintenance and proper use of oxygen therapy and monitoring devices in Kigoma region along with training on emergency medical devices for healthcare professionals in the intensive care unit of the regional hospitals in Arusha.

In Uzbekistan, activities to improve the healthcare level in neonatal wards and to strengthen the capacity of bone marrow biopsy for children were carried out through capacity building of medical professionals working for genetic diseases and referral hospitals.

Fostering human resources who will drive healthcare improvement in partner countries
In 2021, the educational performance achieved by the fellows of Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program rose by 29.6 points to 83 points after the training, rising from 53.4 points before the training. It exceeds 9.6% compared to the pre-determined growth target (20 points). The average satisfaction of the trainees was 92.4 points, 2.4 percent higher than the target (90 points). In addition, the applicability score to the field was 91.7 points on average, 1.7% higher than the target (90 points).

Director Jung Hye-jin of Dr LEE Jong-wook Memorial School said, "People lie at the center of cooperation, and nurturing human resources is the most sustainable and effective investment among various fields of international cooperation." “KOFIH is making efforts to solidify the system for planning, operation and post-management of Dr LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program so that Korea can play pivotal roles in fostering global healthcare workforce.” she added.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic era, we realized that public health is not an issue limited to one individual or country, but a joint task that humanity should work together. It is our sincere hope that healthcare personnel trained through "Dr. LEE Jong-wook Fellowship Program" will become central pillars for improving the international healthcare system and continue to be active contributors in the field.

Key achievements of the invitational training by course
Course for infectious disease specialists – Clinical treatment and diagnostic test(27 December, 2021 – 21 November, 2022)
This course for clinical treatment and diagnostic test, commissioned to Myongji Hospital, is joined by 21 infectious disease experts from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Laos and Vietnam. By taking lessons and practical training regarding theories on clinical treatment and diagnostic test for infectious diseases and enhancing skills, the fellows established an action plan to respond to infectious diseases.

Course for infectious disease specialists – Policy and epidemiology(November 2, 2021 – November 21, 2022)
This course for policy and epidemiology, commissioned to Yonsei University's Industry-Academic Cooperation Group, was joined by 11 specialists from four countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Cambodia, and Laos) in its first round of course. They received detailed mentoring and consulting on infectious disease control (response) system analysis and how to apply it. The secondary round is attended by 22 trainees from seven countries.

Course for infectious disease specialists – Tuberculosis research(1 November, 2021 – 29 June, 2022)
This course for tuberculosis research, commissioned to GC Labs, is joined by Six clinical pathologists from two countries, including Uganda and Cambodia. They received the training on tuberculosis management system, building on capacity building for tuberculosis diagnostic test and research. After returning to their home countries, the course graduates introduced advanced systems for detecting latent tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients, and became the basis for improving tuberculosis management policies for institutions they belong to and even neighboring countries.

Course for health policy administrators(2 November, 2021 - 30 June, 2022)
This course for health policy administrators, commissioned to Yonsei University's Industry-Academic Cooperation Group, is joined by 12 fellows from five countries including Laos, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. By taking lessons and practical training tailored to each fellow ranging from health sciences to training for healthcare managers, the fellows could present how to enhance the health system of their home countries after returning to home while playing central roles in implementing cooperative projects with KOFIH.

Course for biomedical engineers(29 September, 2021 – 27 May, 2022)
This course for biomedical engineers, commissioned to Eulji University's Industry-Academic Cooperation Group, is joined by 12 biomedical engineers and managers from Health Ministries in six countries such as Tanzania, Laos, Ghana, Mongolia, Ethiopia and Vietnam. High-quality techniques and knowledge were shared and educational models were transferred based on Korea’s advanced biomedical engineering education and training systems, such as one-on-one consultation with supervisors and development of education plans.

Course for clinical experts (Contract period and training duration vary)(2 November, 2021 – 30 June, 2022)
Course for clinical experts are classified into five separate courses based on the requests of partner countries
➊ Ghana, Mozambique and Cambodia (Inje University)
➋ Uganda, Uzbekistan and Tanzania (Yonsei University, Wonju campus)
➌ Laos (Seoul National University)
➌ Laos (Seoul National University)
➍ Mongolia (Gangbuk Samsung Hospital - Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences), and
➎ rehabilitation for Cambodia (National Rehabilitation Center)
Clinical experts from each country, including nurses and doctors participating in the clinical courses, are reinforcing their medical knowledge and techniques through individual and group training to be applied in the field. Follow-up management also plans to be provided through visits to project-participating countries and consulting on field application.