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US$4 million in Korean tech for preventing infectious disease outbreaks

The government of the Republic of Korea has forecast a budget of around US$4 million in additional assistance to Laos from 2019-2023 to improve information technology in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
A signing ceremony for the assistance took place on Friday in Vientiane between Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control of the Ministry of Health, Dr Sisavath Soutthaniraxay, Executive Vice President of Korea Telecom (KT), Ms Hea-Jeang Yun and Country Representative of Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) Laos Office, Mr Juwang Baik.

The “Public-Private Project for strengthening communicable diseases control in the Lao PDR” is supporting the upgrade of information technology in the health sector to enhance disease surveillance, risk assessment, and response systems through the training of field epidemiologists as well providing consultation in relevant issues.
The agreement was witnessed by Minister of the Ministry of Health, Assoc Prof Dr Bounkong Syhavong and Ambassador of the Korean Embassy to Laos, Mr Sung-soon Shin.
This support continues on from a previous 5-year project agreement signed on September 8, 2016, by the Lao Ministry of Health, KOFIH and Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) to strengthen bilateral cooperation, develop capacity and proficiency, and to provide technical assistance in the field of communicable diseases control and prevention.
KOFIH’s Mr Juwang said, “Under the leadership of Lao Ministry of Health, with our strong cooperation and openness to exploring new ways to form this partnership, we will soon be able to catch the problems and find solutions in a timely manner with high quality and reliable health information especially during epidemic outbreaks.”
He also mentioned, that KOFIH, a public organisation under the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, has also been discussing with KCDC opportunities for sharing Korea’s experience in building a disease control system through this project.
According to KT, their disease prevention system analyses location-based information including roaming data that it collects, uses the data to guide its customers on preventing epidemics and builds a monitoring system that helps health authorities assess infection risk at the initial stage of an outbreak.
KT started working on the system in 2016 with Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Information Society Agency to demonstrate how big data can be used in disease control.
The project came a year after MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) hit Korea. Now it is regarded as a showcase of collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Based on the project’s success in Korea, KT will collaborate with the Lao Ministry of Health and KOFIH on the use of information technology in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update April 2, 2019)

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