J Korean Med Assoc.  2006 Nov;49(11):983-989. 10.5124/jkma.2006.49.11.983.

Current Status and a Prospect of Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Korea

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Korea. smshinmd@skku.edu


Neonatal intensive care in Korea has improved remarkably since the 1990's, but there is still a shortage of facilities and equipments in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Only 61.7% of hospital beds needed for neonatal intensive care are available, the given area per bed is limited, and other facilities such as on-call rooms, interview rooms, closets are insufficient. Mechanical ventilators are not appropriately distributed to NICUs that are equipped to handle neonatal intensive care. The number of physicians for neonatal intensive care is by far too small, with the number of patients per physician being very high. The number of patients per nurse, too, is as high as 5.3 to 7.3, making it very difficult to provide adequate intensive care. All these are caused by the insufficient investment by the hospitals, which is due to the inadequate reimbursement from the health insurance. Therefore, government-driven efforts are necessary to bring the level of neonatal intensive care service up to par.


Neonatal intensive care; Newborn; NICU

MeSH Terms

Critical Care
Infant, Newborn
Insurance, Health
Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
Intensive Care, Neonatal*
Ventilators, Mechanical


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