After developing an agreement with the government in May, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a programme in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Medical assistance is not considered a top priority in DPRK and most help is steered towards self-sufficient food production, food aid and disease prevention strategies. Only a few international aid organisations are present in the country, and these face restrictions on their movements and on free access to patients.
In this context, MSF has employed an adapted approach. After a long absence, MSF started working in the country again in 2012, and from the beginning of 2013, made visits on a regular basis to upgrade some medical practices related to mother and child health in the district hospital of Anju, South Pyongan province. A memorandum of understanding was signed in May, outlining the framework of the collaboration between the government and MSF, and MSF’s activities in the country.
In February, a team travelled to DPRK to start updating the medical knowledge ofstaff through training. The first module covered was ‘Management of dehydration and shock among children’, and then in June the team returned to complete the second training module, ‘Life support in obstetric services’. In October, the third module, ‘Management of malnutrition, respiratory and neurological diseases among children’, was completed. The drugs and medical materials related to the modules were provided during each visit, as well as food for the hospitalised patients, their caregivers and the hospital staff. Follow-up monitoring and supervision was carried out during field visits.
No. staff end 2013: 5 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1995