Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

“4,000~5,000 cases of multidrug-resistant TB occur annually in North Korea”

2017-06-16 17:17

The Eugene Bell Foundation, meeting reporters at a press conference (photo) on June 15 at the Korea Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul, reported on the results of their recent visit to North Korea and called for cooperation by the governments of both North and South for reactivation of civilian exchanges.

Twice each year since 2007, Eugene Bell Foundation has dispatched medical teams to North Korea, along with drugs and other supplies, to treat North Korean patients suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, which cannot be cured with ordinary TB drugs.

During May 2~23 this year, an 11-member team of Foundation representatives including its president Stephen Linton, visited 12 centers for multidrug-resistant TB patients in North Korea, delivering to each of them a six-month supply of medicines and nutritional supplies. President Linton reported, “Last year it was difficult to provide this treatment support, due to various problems including the need for government permission to send out drugs and other materials, which was not smoothly realized; but this year everything went well, according to plan.”

There are as many as 4,000~5,000 occurrences of multidrug-resistant TB every year in North Korea, but the Foundation’s current treatment support reaches only 1,000 patients in the western region of the country. In order to block the spread of tuberculosis, it is essential to extend the service to all parts of North Korea.

“Even though South and North are not in a wartime situation, many people are losing their lives due to disease,” President Linton said. “The South Korean people should help them regain hope.” He called for government action as well. “The new government should move more positively to reactivate civilian exchanges, such as facilitating cross-border travel by NGOs and others, and simplifying the process for sending medicines and other goods to the North.”

Reporter Lee Saya (Isaiah@kmib.co.kr), with Marion Kim (marionkkim@icloud.com)
Photo by intern reporter Shin Hyeon Ga

Full Story in Korean:
“北, 다제내성결핵 환자 年 4000∼5000명 발생”: 유진벨재단 방북 결과 보고

Related Article:
Eugene Bell Foundation Will Send MDR-TB Drug to North Korea

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