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Subject Guro Hospital Spearheads the Efforts to Build Madagascar’s “COVID-19 Diagnostic Center”
Selection News Date 2020-06-18 Read 469

KU Guro Hospital Spearheads 

the Efforts to Build Madagascar’s 

“COVID-19 Diagnostic Center”



Korean Ambassador to Madagascar Sends a Letter of Gratitude to


President Seung-Kyu Han



Madagascar, which was unprotected against the COVID-19 pandemic due to


outdated medical facilities and thus unable to treat or even test patients,


established a quarantine safety net thanks to Korea University Guro Hospital’s





In response, the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to Madagascar, Sang-woo


Lim, sent a letter of gratitude to President Seung-Kyu Han of Korea University


Guro Hospital.



Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean of Africa with a population


of 27 million and had its first COVID-19 confirmed case on March 20. And in


less than a week, the number of exposed people surpassed the nation’s testing


capacity, and as a result, the number of patients increased exponentially. In


Madagascar where medical facilities and resources are so scarce that just 10


critically ill patients would overwhelm the system, an only available option was


rapid screening and patient isolation.



It got test kits but couldn’t differentiate specimen


Korea University Guro Hospital supported the establishment of a


laboratory with negative pressure and stainer



Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Madagascar (Ambassador Sang-woo Lim)


secured test kits for 15,000 people thanks to the help of supporters and the


Korean government. But the test kits were just bullets and it needed a gun. The


test kit alone did not mean that patients could be diagnosed. Laboratory tools


such as pipettes were in short supply, so even with a collected specimen, a


diagnosis couldn’t be made. There were no infectious disease experts,


diagnostic and pathology experts, so it was difficult to know what kind of lab


equipment was needed and how to purchase them.



So, Ambassador Lim asked for advice from Missionary Jae-hoon Lee (51th


graduates’ class of Korea University College of Medicine) who had been


volunteering in Madagascar since 2005 to provide medical services.


When the missionary asked help from Professor Han-Kyeom Kim of the


Department of Pathology of Korea University Guro Hospital, Professor Kim


and his wife, Mrs. Young-sook Joo (38th graduates’ class of Korea University


College of Medicine) purchased and donated two negative pressure which is


absolutely needed for safe SARS-CoV-2 testing and also provided information


for the establishment of a laboratory. Then Madagascar was able to establish a


well-equipped laboratory for COVID-19 patients testing, and as of June 20,


approximately 12,000 tests have been conducted to find 1,162 confirmed cases.


When President Seung-Kyu Han of Korea University Guro Hospital heard this


unfortunate news of Madagascar, he helped building a laboratory that can


complement Madagascar’s suboptimal health care environment by sending


automated histology and cell stainer and a coverslipper.



Has been inviting and educating pathologists since 2016



In fact, this is not the first time that Korea University Guro Hospital supports


Madagascar. It invited and trained three pathologists from Madagascar to Korea


from 2016 to 2020. The trained pathologists will play a pivotal role not only in


Pathology but also in the medical development of Madagascar.



“Korea University Guro Hospital has been a great help in improving


Madagascar’s suboptimal health care environment. I express my sincere


gratitude for your help and interests in Madagascar from afar.” Ambassador Lim


stated in his letter of gratitude expressing his appreciation.




“We didn’t do much but you sent us a letter. I am truly touched by your letter of


gratitude.” President Han replied. “I hope the whole world will work together to


overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to support Madagascar


for its medical development.”


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