Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

“Stakeholders must come together to continue TB treatment supply to North Korea”

2018-11-26 15:17

At a factory in Gyeonggi-do, the Eugene Bell Foundation (director: Stephen Linton) produced 20 hospital isolation wards, each with two separate entrances under one blue roof. The Foundation could not send them to North Korea, however, because the stainless steel boiler pipes installed in the floors are on the UN sanctions list.

On November 15, the Foundation held a media conference at the Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul, and announced that it faces difficulties in supporting tuberculosis treatment in North Korea. Director Stephen Linton (photo below) said, “Due to the sanctions against North Korea, the Global Fund, which was cooperating with us to help tuberculosis patients in North Korea, has halted its support. In order to close this gap and continue sending medical supplies, the Korean government and international and civilian agencies need to come together.” Director Linton visited North Korea from October 16 to November 6.

There are an estimated maximum 8,000 multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in North Korea. MDR-TB cannot be treated with general tuberculosis drugs. This year the Eugene Bell Foundation supported medicine for 1,200 MDR-TB patients and the Global Fund supported 1,000 patients, but this total includes only 27.5 % among all who should be treated.

Director Linton said, “Our current inventory of general TB medicine will run out by 2020, and we have only enough MDR-TB medicine for those patients who registered this fall. To fill the gap caused by the withdrawal of Global Fund, we need two to three million dollars.” It takes nine months to send medicine to North Korea, including the sea shipment time, customs clearance and quarantine. The order must be placed during the first half of next year to prevent a shortage of TB medicine in North Korea.

Linton explained, “It takes three to five years for tuberculosis to kill a person, so we usually do not consider it an emergency disease,” and added, “We can carry out a cooperative project between South and North Korea such as supporting diagnosis apparatus for TB eradication, because that is purely humanitarian cooperation. The project should not influenced by the United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea.”

*Top photo: In July this year, a North Korean medical team examines patients at a clinic in North Korea for distribution of TB medicine from the Eugene Bell Foundation.

Reporter DongWoo Kim (love@kmib.co.kr), with Yeara Ahn-Park (yap@kmib.co.kr)
Photo courtesy of Eugene Bell Foundation

Original Article in Korean:
“북에 결핵약 공급 차질 막으려면 한국정부·국제-민간기구 힘 모아야”: 유진벨재단 방북결과 보고

Related Article:
Eugene Bell Foundation: “TB medicine support to North Korea must be excluded from sanctions list”

Popular Articles

Total Mission Kuki
Yoido Full Gospel Church


2013 WCC Myungsung church