The Korean Medical Student Association (KMSA)’s 10 executive members took turns to stage a one-person demonstration in front of the National Assembly and Gwanghwamun, with picket signs criticizing the government’s move to train more doctors to fight future epidemics. They also opposed a plan to open a public medical school.
|The Korean Medical Student Association President Cho Seung-hyeon, top left, and nine executive members of the group staged one-person protests in front of the National Assembly and Gwanghwamun in the rain in Seoul, Saturday. (KMSA)|
KMSA President Cho Seung-hyeon and nine other executive members participated in the one-person protest.
The students argued that nurturing more doctors would not lead to more allocation of doctors to rural areas in the public health sector. Many medical school students hope to work in public health but choose other regions because of inadequate treatment for those in the public health sectors, they said.
KMSA said its recent survey on medical school students across the nation in June showed that 22.8 percent of the respondents had the intention to work in public health.
In reality, however, physicians in public health account for only about 10 percent of the total, KMSA said.
KMSA Vice President Kim Jae-eui, who staged the one-person rally in Gwanghwamun, said the healthcare policy pushed by the government and the ruling party was a bolt out of the blue.
He said the public health sector is already a deserted area, and the government’s plan would make the situation worse.
“The proportion of doctors in the public health sector is significantly lower than that of medical students who want to work in the sector,” Kim went on to say. “This demonstrates that the government still turns a blind eye to the poor state investment into drawing doctors to the public health and the low quality of the public health.”
Kim Ki-deok, another KMSA vice president who rallied in front of the National Assembly, said the government’s plan to open a new public medical school came in less than three years since Seonam University’s closure, which was caused by difficulties in hiring professors and establishing a training hospital.
He also criticized the government for betraying doctors who made every effort to fight Covid-19. “The government is trying to produce low-quality doctors just by ‘adding headcounts’ in the neglected public health sector,” he added.
KMSA decided to refuse to attend medical school lectures and training for a week from Aug. 7.
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