Negotiations are underway to establish new medical projects in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Health facilities are not regularly maintained in DPRK and they lack medical equipment and supplies. The population is also affected by food shortages. Only a handful of international NGOs are permitted to work in the country, and their activities are closely controlled.
In June 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) completed a project in Anju district, South Pyongan province, aimed at increasing the capacity of medical services for the local population, primarily through staff training and donations of drugs and supplies. MSF’s modular approach focused on mother and child healthcare, including specific training on management of diarrhoea, respiratory and neurological diseases, malnutrition among children, and life-saving obstetric procedures. As well as training medical personnel, the MSF team visited the paediatric and maternity wards of the local hospital, examining patients and assessing the implementation of training modules. MSF also supplied the medical equipment and drugs related to training topics, along with food for patients, caregivers and staff. Through the project MSF provided direct care for 250 patients and indirect support for 3,000 people.
At the end of October MSF began exploring the feasibility of activities in other locations. The team visited the county hospital in Sukchon in South Pyongan and Kim Man Yu hospital in Pyongyang and was negotiating with the government at year end to launch further programmes. In December, two Ministry of Health staff were invited by MSF to attend an Ebola training session offered in Geneva.
No. staff in 2014: 3 | Expenditure: €0.5 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1995 | msf.org/dprk