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Elementary school students to learn about life of Dr. Lee Jong-wook

Elementary school students to learn about life of Dr. Lee Jong-wook

Posted September. 02, 2020 07:36,   

Updated September. 02, 2020 07:36


Elementary school students will learn about the lift of former Director General of the World Health Organization Lee Jong-wook (Photo), the first South Korean head of an international organization who died in 2006, from their coursebook.

The Korea Foundation for International Healthcare along with the Health Education Forum Corp announced Tuesday that they included content about Dr. Lee in the health education textbook for 5th and 6th graders. It is the first time that he is introduced in the school textbook. The coursebook was revised for the first time in 10 years and approved by the Gyeonggi Provincial Office for Education. It will be used in all elementary schools from next year.

Dr. Lee’s entire life was devoted to patients. He took care of patients of Hansen’s disease in Lazarus Village, Anyang, Gyeonggi Province while he was studying at the medical school of the Seoul National University. He crossed the South Pacific after finishing his studies in the U.S. and patiently treated lepers. They called him the Asian Schweitzer. He started working at the WHO as a medical officer for Hansen’s disease in 1983. He took office as director of Disease Prevention and Control office, director in Global Programme for Vaccines and Immunization and executive secretary of Children’s Vaccine Initiative from 1993. He decreased the preval‎ence of polio in the world to less than one per 10,000 people while serving as Director of Disease Prevention and Control office. The U.S. magazine Scientific American called him an emperor of vaccines.

After becoming the first head of an international organization as Korean in 2003, Dr. Lee devoted himself to eradicate infectious diseases in developing countries. He promoted the “3 by 5” campaign intended to treat three million AIDS patients by 2005, which is assessed to be the greatest achievement in the history of public health. It was him that changed international public health rules which made countries around the world to immediately report to the WHO when there is a new infectious disease such as COVID-19.

Woo-Sun Lim imsun@donga.com