Medical Shortage in DPRK

From the Daily NK:

Dependency of North Korea on foreign medical supplies is very high. Most of the medical supplies delivered by international medical organizations are first provided to the Pyongyang Central Hospitals and military hospitals. For this reason, city and district hospitals always lack medicines.

Also, after the 7.1 Economic Management Improvement Measure, self-supporting accounting system has removed free supply of medicines, and patients need to purchase medicine themselves.

For example, Doctor A at a hospital does not provide medicine after the treatment. Doctor A only directs the patients to Mr.B who has the medicine. The patient purchases the medicine from Mr. B and asks Doctor A how to use them. It is no different from private drug store.

Mr. Chun (53) who used to sell drugs at Hamheung before he defected said, “Hospitals don’t have medicine while there are hundreds of different kinds of medicines at Jangmadang. District hospitals use salt water as sanitizer for emergency treatments, and papers are used because they do not have bandage and cotton balls.


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