DPRK life expectancy declines

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s life expectancy backtracked after 60 years of free medicare services, local analysts of the communist country said Wednesday.

The claims by Pyongyang observers comes as the latest United Nations Population Fund data showed the combined average life expectancy for men and women in the country stood at 69 in 2012, five years lower than a tally taken in the early 1980s. The average North Korean man is expected to live just 65.9 years according to last year’s findings, while the life expectancy for women reached 72.1. Both numbers placed the country in 117th place among countries checked.

Despite the regression, North Korean media such as the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, said in an article carried on Tuesday that the free universal medical care system has become the envy of countries around the world.

It added that the service reflects the will of the people and leadership to build an economically strong nation. The system was implemented in 1953.

The daily newspaper said because of the service, the size of country’s medical related spending surged 112 fold from 1940 to 1980.

The paper also said there was a 15.7 year rise in the country’s average life expectancy during the cited period. It claimed that the country’s life expectancy reached 74 in 1980, which is a different figure from the data provided by the U.N. organization for roughly the same time period. North Kore generally does not release life expectancy data, with the paper giving no numbers regarding life expectancy during the 1990-2000 period.

Related to Pyongyang’s insistence on maintaining the system and hailing it as a success, North Korean analysts said that the communist country’s free medicare is part of the political landscape that sets it apart from capitalist countries.

They said that despite what North Korean news outlets are saying, many defectors have argued that they paid money to be looked after by medical personnel while in the communist country.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s life expectancy backtracks after 60 years of free medicare
Yonhap
2013-2-20

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