Posts Tagged ‘Health Care’

In July of 2010, Amnesty International released an eye opening study of North Korea’s crumbling healthcare system.

Generally speaking, North Korea is supposed to provide free healthcare access to all of its citizens.  However due to mounting food shortages and a lack of access to medication, the system has fallen into a corrupt and nonfunctioning nightmare.

Highly recommended reading, which you can find for download at: NK_HealthCare_Amnesty.

Some highlights from the report:

Page 18:

According to the WHO, North Korea spent less than US $1 per person in 2006.   The global average is $716.

Page 20:

Health workers were often not paid and thus, needed to be recompensed for their services in order to survive…  Unofficial payments were especially prevalent for technical medical service, such as surgery or treatment that entails further tests, x-rays or hospitalization.

Page 22:

Doctors and nurses treat you better once you give them a bottle of alcohol or cigarettes.

Page 24:

Most of the North Koreans interviewed by Amnesty International described health facilities that functioned without adequate medical equipment and supplies, and health workers recycled medical supplies until worn, sometimes with little regard to hygiene and safety. Witnesses described how doctors and nurses re-used needles, which over time were severely dulled due to overuse and little attempt was made to properly sterilise them. Um, a 21-year- old woman from Chongjin, North Hamgyong province, received an injection at a hospital in 2004: “The doctor took a used syringe and dipped the needle in boiling water for about ten seconds before giving me my injection.”

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