Intended for healthcare professionals


North Korea’s healthcare system is in dire straits, says Amnesty report

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 19 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3903
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    North Korea’s state healthcare system is in a crisis, with hospitals and clinics lacking essential drugs and supplies and doctors forced to reuse hypodermic needles and to carry out operations, including amputations, without anaesthesia, says a report by Amnesty International.

    Many facilities are run down and often have power cuts and no heat. At night staff members sometimes have to work by candlelight, says the report.

    Because of the shortages health workers “recycled medical supplies until worn, sometimes with little regard to hygiene and safety,” it says. The report draws on interviews with more than 40 North Koreans who left the country and with aid organisations and health …

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