The South Korean government will earmark 1 trillion won ($926.1 million) spending program specifically to prevent and cure dementia, a disease already paining one out of every aged citizen in the fast-graying society.
The government’s advisory council on the national science and technology development on Wednesday came up with an agenda addressing problems stemming from the aging society and environmental challenges.
The plan includes not only 1 trillion won spending on dementia R&D from 2020 to 2029 but also a goal to create 100,000 new jobs by fostering R&D on new drug and medical device development by 2022.
The advisory council is composed of eight government departments and agencies including the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Ministry of Science and ICT. President Moon Jae-in has pledged to address the challenges caused by the fast-aging society and poor environment and air quality during his presidential campaign.
The latest investment and plan are aimed at enhancing the people’s quality of life in the country that is one of the most rapidly aging societies in the world. Among Koreans aged 65 or more, about one out of 10 are suffering from dementia, data showed. With the new investment, the government expects to reduce high cost burden on curing and tackling such health problems.
On top of that, the government will also expand the budget for the development of new drug and medical devices, prepare new rules and relax regulations that hinder creative innovation in these sectors.
Based on the plan, the government aims to add 100,000 new jobs to secure a total of 270,000 in the pharmaceutical and bio industries over the next five years. Enhanced medical and health technologies are expected to extend the country’s life expectancy by three years to 76 years by 2022, the government said.
By Won Ho-sup and Lee Ha-yeon
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