The Medical Situation in NK Is Dire, Even Those Bitten By A Rabid Dog Can Be Treated In China

[imText1]The medical situation in North Korea is dire.

The Chinese online newspaper, Xinwen Huabao, reported on May 9th that, “At 5pm on May 5th, approximately 10 North Koreans who were family members of a miner at the “Youth Mine” located in Jagang Province in North Korea, were bitten by a rabid dog while they were going back home after washing their clothes in the Yalu River, which shares the border with China. They were seriously Injured”.

The article added, “The rabies vaccine is in short supply in North Korea, and the situation was urgent. At 9:43 am on the 6th, Mr. Ryum Yoon Wook, the manager of the “Youth Mine” where the March 5th fiasco took place, asked the Linjiang Border Control Office at Jilin, China, as well as the Secretary of the Party at the North Korea-China Border Control Office for emergency aid.

The accident was unexpected and the Border Control Office was closed because of the May 1st holiday. The Border Control Office in China only had one person on duty, adding to the seriousness of the situation. The 10 North Koreans were taken to China, and were treated at Hospital #2 in Linjiang City, which saved their lives.

The “March 5th Youth Mine” is a relatively big mine located in Joonggang, Jagang Province, and is home to 750 houses and 1,500 families. On February 22nd, a North Korean website, wooriminjokggiri, described the “March 5th Youth Mine” as the one which overcame the hardship of the “March of Tribulation” and “introduced the new beginning”.

Medical Supplies Are Concentrated in Pyongyang Central Hospital and Military Hospitals. Private Drug Stores Are Coming

This incident shows how dire the medical situation in North Korea truly is. The rabies vaccine is a basic medicine that any hospital should be equipped with.

Dependency of North Korea on foreign medical supplies is currently 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 are always lacking critical and basic medicinal supplies.

Also, the 7.1 Economic Management Improvement Measure altered the accounting system, completely removing free medicianal supplies, and leaving patients responsible for purchasing medicine themselves.

For example, Doctor A at a hospital does not provide medicine after treatment. Instead, he simply 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 it. It is no different from a private drug store.

Mr. Chun (53), who used to sell drugs at Hamheung before he defected said, “Hospitals don’t have medicine, although there are hundreds of different kinds of medicine at Jangmadang. District hospitals use salt water as sanitizer for emergency treatments, and paper is used in place of bandages and cotton balls.