The Foundation of Public Health: The National Medical Center
During the Korean War, local medical doctors were able to treat injured soldiers and civilians with the help of medical aid from the US and European countries. Later, upon the conclusion of the armistice agreement between the two Koreas, three Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, prepared to withdraw their medical staff, but the Korean government, which was unable to handle the large number of injured and sick due to a shortage of local medical facilities, asked the three countries to continue to offer medical assistance. The National Medical Center, run by both Korea and these three Scandinavian countries, was originally a training hospital that provided education for medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses. A year after its foundation, a nursing school was also established. At that time, although the number of poor patients receiving free medical treatment exceeded the number of patients paying for their medical care, foreign residents in Korea had strong trust in the institution as it had new advanced facilities and skilled medical professionals. Foreigners in Korea set up a booth exclusive to foreigners. Later, in 1968, the Korean government acquired the right to operate the institution and turned it into the current medical institution by expanding the existing facilities and adding new ones. With these new and expanded facilities, the National Medical Center was officially established in 2010.