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KCDA status elevated, a significant progress in infectious disease control

KCDA status elevated, a significant progress in infectious disease control

Posted September. 09, 2020 07:39,   

Updated September. 09, 2020 07:44


The new Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA) will be officially launched on Saturday. The number of staff will be increased by 569 from 907 to 1,476. It is 1.6 times larger than the previous organization. The internal organization will become double the size with one agency head, deputy head, eight bureaus and 41 departments from the current organization that has one chief, five divisions and centers and 23 departments.

As the need to elevate the status of the KCDA has been suggested during the process of dealing with COVID-19, infectious disease control has been largely enhanced in the new agency. The Center for Infectious Diseases Research at the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH), which is an organization under the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will become a separate organization under the name of the National Infectious Disease Research Center. It will support research on infectious viruses as well as clinical research and vaccine development by adding staff to around 100. The KNIH, which was transferred to the Ministry of Health and Welfare in June, will remain at the KCDA as a primary extension organization to concentrate on future medical care and customized disease research as infectious diseases are not its focus anymore.

Another outstanding point is the creation of local organizations. Weak local capacity of quarantine authorities has been consistently pointed out from the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2015. Disease Control Centers will be established in five local areas including the capital, Chungcheong, South Jeolla, North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang regions. Those five centers will have 155 staff members in total. They will enable agile responses to current disease issues occurring at local cities with departments specialized in infectious diseases to be established in metropolitan cities and 256 health centers throughout the nation. As infectious disease control departments are newly established in local governments, 1,066 staff members will be additionally hired.

The government believes that Korea’s infectious disease control capacity including COVID-19 would be significantly improved in autumn and winter thanks to the enhancement in KCDA’s authority and size. But some say that we would have to wait and see how the new organizations work effectively.

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