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Community-based public health interventions in North Korea: one non-governmental organization's experience with tuberculosis and hepatitis B

 L C Goe  ;  J A Linton 
 PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol.119(5) : 347-352, 2005-05 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Altruism ; Child ; Christianity ; Community Health Services / organization & administration* ; Directly Observed Therapy ; Hepatitis B / epidemiology ; Hepatitis B / prevention & control* ; Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage ; Humans ; Immunization Programs / organization & administration ; International Cooperation* ; Korea / epidemiology ; Organizational Case Studies ; Organizations* ; Public Health Practice* ; Tuberculosis / drug therapy* ; Tuberculosis / epidemiology
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, is the most isolated country in the world, and has been a source of interest, politically and socially, since the 1953 ceasefire of the Korean War. While in the past year, interest has focused on the nuclear dispute with the USA, over the past decade, most interest has revolved around the economic plight of the country, the lack of funds and resources for health care, and the subsequent public health declines. North Korea's present economic and public health problems began in the early 1990s due to the gradual loss of economic support from its communist allies (i.e. after the fall of the Soviet Union and the capitalization of China), combined with an inordinate number of natural disasters (floods, famine and drought) all occurring within the same time span. These simultaneous events initiated a 'snowball effect' of severe economic depression and a rapid deterioration of the overall public health infrastructure in the country. North Korea's continued isolation and reluctance to release health statistics has left the international community uncertain of the precise extent of the public health devastation. The uncertainty of the situation has been further complicated by disparate accounts of the public health declines. For instance, the North Korean Government has estimated that approximately 220,000 people died due to famine in the 1990s, while the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that this figure is closer to 2 million. In the past few years, the willingness of the North Korean Government to engage the outside world has increased. This is reflected by the growing number of foreign aid organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been permitted entry into the country. NGOs have not only served to improve various aspects of the public health system but also serve as a source of 'on-the-ground' information for the outside world. This role has proven critical not only for public health purposes but for facilitating improved international relations between countries.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Family Medicine (가정의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Linton, John A.(인요한) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8000-3049
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