* Korea has the highest incidence rate of TB among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2014, South Korea marked a TB incidence rate of 86 patients per 100,000, seven times higher than the average rate of the developed nations.
* A reporter and the doctor’s narrative being racist enough, but the doctor from Korean Institute of Tuberculosis’ program claims that treatment of foreign TB patient is necessary and desirable.
#Foreign_patient #Tuberculosis #Korea
Original Article from: https://bit.ly/2qRES2o
Over 2,000 foreigners are taking advantage of free tuberculosis (TB) treatment, eating away at taxpayers’ money, but cracking down on them is not the answer, a doctor has told The Korea Times.
“If you pursue those freeloaders, they would go underground and run the higher risk of spreading the disease,” Oh Kyung-hyun, head of the state-run Korean Institute of Tuberculosis’ program cooperation department, said. “So treating them at our expense is better for our national health.”
TB is a contagious disease, the treatment of which is 100 percent covered by the government, even if the person does not subscribe to national health insurance.
Korea has the highest rate of TB among the rich OECD member nations.
Foreigners accounted for 6 percent of patients in 2017, 0.5 percent down from the previous year, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). They include long-term resident foreigners who pay medical insurance and those on short-term visas who don’t.
The ratio has risen from 2.4 percent in 2011 to 6.54 percent in 2016.
The bulk of newly diagnosed patients are older people, who accounted for 41.9 percent last year, up 2 percent from the previous year.
The KCDC said it is establishing a new TB control plan for 2018 to 2022, targeting vulnerable groups including foreigners and the elderly.
Under the current policy, foreigners on tourist visas do not need to submit a medical certificate to enter the country. They can get free TB treatment in national hospitals.
Those who visit the country for more than 90 days need to pay health insurance for three months period in advance.
“The issue of foreigners getting free treatment needs to be dealt with at a bilateral level between the Korean government and other countries, where the patients come from,” the doctor said.