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MEMBER UPDATE: A space for healing: overcoming environmental diseases

To help prevent and manage environmental diseases, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Korea and Korea National Park Service established Health Improvement Camps in 2009.  Every year, the camps, situated in various national parks in the Republic of Korea, welcome families and treat children suffering from environmental diseases, such as skin inflammation, eczema, seasonal allergies and asthma, for free.

Building understanding about environmental diseases © KNPS

Health Improvement Camps are collaborative initiatives between national park offices and medical centers. Programmes such as nature trail walks and making snacks and moisturizers from natural ingredients are managed by national park offices while health clinics are run by medical centers.

The camps give people the opportunity to understand environmental diseases better and to meet with other friends with similar symptoms. This can help tackle associated health challenges such as stress and depression. Children and their parents can learn how to manage their lifestyles, including improving their diets, in a bid to treat their conditions. The camp also gives priority to vulnerable social groups.

Making healthy snacks © KNPS

Fourteen children who participated in the camp more than four times reported that they had fewer symptoms. 

In 2019, the camp will operate between April and October at 12 national parks across the country. Children suffering from environmental diseases can visit the camp.

About the Korea National Park Service (KNPS)

The Korea National Park Service (KNPS) is a professional protected area management organisation established in 1987. It manages around 30 percent of Korea’s protected areas, including 21 national parks. Guided by its vision: ‘Leading Protected Areas Management by Connecting Nature, People, and the Future’, KNPS commits its resources to achieving conservation and sustainable use of national parks, and provides support to locally-managed protected areas.