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Neonatal Med > Volume 20(3); 2013 > Article
Neonatal Medicine 2013;20(3):236-248.
DOI:    Published online October 29, 2013.
Milestones of the History of Neonatal Intensive Care in Korea.
Jung Hwan Choi
Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Neonatal intensive care was introduced much later in Korea than in Europe and the United States, where it was introduced during the last decade of the 19th century. During the 1950s-60s, general supportive neonatal care could be provided in nurseries, and during the 1960s-70s, incubator care could be given to preterm infants in premature rooms. In the 1980s, neonatal intensive care could be provided to premature and sick full-term infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of some major medical centers; the quality of neonatal intensive care improved and the number of NICUs rapidly expanded during the 1990s and 2000s. It can be assumed that the rapid development of neonatal intensive care in Korea may have been induced by the improvement in the Korean socio-economical environment, public demand, numerous study visits and lectures in Korea by distinguished foreign neonatologists, return of native Korean neonatologists trained at famous foreign institutions, and establishment of Korean medical societies (e.g., the Korean Society of Perinatology and the Korean Society of Neonatology). As a result, neonatal and infant mortality rates have dramatically decreased in Korea, especially the mortality rates of low birth weight, very low birth weight, and extremely low birth weight infants. However, despite present and future difficulties in Korea, it is essential to develop and promote the more advanced and institutionalized neonatal intensive care with the set-up of regionalization and transportation system at the perinatal centers in cooperation with primary and secondary hospitals, the government, city, and communities.
Key Words: Neonatal intensive care; Preterm infant; Infant mortality; Transportation


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