200 Seoul senior citizens to get free medical service at home
By Yoon Da-mee
Jo Mi-ryeong, 79, in Seoul, makes a living by collecting cardboard and paper. In previous years she wouldn’t consider going to hospital, even though she was in pain after working all day. She simply couldn’t afford it. But since March, she has received special care from a doctor appointed by the city every month.
Seoul City will extend such free medical services to 200 senior citizens in collaboration with a volunteer doctors’ association this year.
The 200 senior citizens will be chosen from those living alone and not mobile. district elderly welfare centers will recommend eight from each of the 25 gu or districts in Seoul, the city said in a press release Wednesday. This year will see 50 more citizens receive these services than in 2010.
The Korean Open Doctors Society has assigned 40 volunteer doctors, 15 more than last year, and some 80 volunteer nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy students, to provide the free service to the sick and needy old people. The medical society said it is receiving applications from volunteers by Feb. 18.
A spokesman said that each doctor will be paired with five senior citizens and visit them at home on the second Sunday of every month between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. starting from March for general and oriental medical services as well as to prescribe medicine.
The seniors can also receive medical services from their assigned doctors, by visiting their hospital at anytime. The doctors society will designate one hospital from those of its members in each of the five regions of the city -- downtown, southwestern, northeastern, northwestern and southeastern.
The 200 senior citizens will also receive care in their daily life once every other week as well as health check-ups over the phone. The volunteers will also be supplied by the doctors’ society.
Other senior citizens aged 65 years or older can also receive medical attention at nearby elderly welfare centers as ambulances or vehicles equipped with medical supplies will be sent there by the doctors’ society from midday to 5 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month. One vehicle will have at least one doctor, one nurse and one pharmacist.
Internal medicine, dental care, obstetrics and gynecology, oriental medicine are among the areas of expertise that will be covered.
For more information, contact the Open Doctors Society office at 02-764-0980 or Seoul City's Health and Welfare Department at 02-3707-9151~2.
Those who are interested in volunteering for this welfare plan can visit http://www.opendrs.or.kr/kor/home/main.asp and apply before Feb. 18.
The Korean Open Doctors Society is a non-profit organization consisting of doctors and other volunteers, set up in 1997, with the slogan, “The sick suffering from disease should not be discriminated against because of their social status.”