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Protests in South Korea against health sector’s measures

Seoul, Feb 12 (Prensa Latina) The South Korean Medical Association on Monday announced nationwide demonstrations this week to protest against the increase in the annual tuition fee for medical schools.

The pressure group said it will hold nationwide strikes starting on Thursday as the first collective action in response to the Government’s decision to increase the number of medical students.

Last week, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare announced a plan to increase faculty vacancies by more than 2,000 to open a total of more than 5,000 places in an effort to address the chronic shortage of doctors in rural areas and in essential health care fields.

The doctors, in response, threatened to stage a full-scale strike; while the Government promised a stern response to deal with any collective action by the doctors.

The South Korean medical community has repeatedly claimed that the increase in the number of students will compromise the quality of education and services.

They point out that the Government should find ways to allocate doctors better and increase their monetary compensation in order to address staff shortages in rural areas and in less popular but essential specialties such as pediatrics and obstetrics.

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