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Korea (Democratic People's Republic of) - P4H Network

The Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a low-income country located in South-East Asia. It has a population of 26 million with a life expectancy of 73 years at birth. The under-5 child mortality rate is estimated at 17.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. The DPRK faces a triple burden of disease that includes addressing the high burden of tuberculosis, maintaining and further decreasing malaria, and sustaining immunization coverage. In addition, there is a steady rise in noncommunicable diseases that requires urgent attention.

The DPRK regularly encounters challenges from natural disasters and climate conditions, which directly affect health and health services. Also, health systems have an inadequate supply of the essential medicines, equipment and skilled human resources needed to deliver quality health services.

The transition in DPRK’s health system resembles transitions other socialist countries experienced during the 1990s. North Korean health facilities were operated through centrally raised public revenue within a centralized administrative system. The authorities attempted to provide comprehensive free healthcare through the formal health system. It aimed to promote public health, prevent diseases, and increase the effectiveness of treatment through the integration of traditional and western medicine.

Inadequate financing for the health sector

As the economic crisis accelerated during the last two decades of the 21st century, the socialist health system has been scaled back. The country pursued universal health coverage (UHC), but the health coverage rate is low because of inadequate health financing. It is difficult for the government to secure an adequate budget to support the centralized health system.

The DPRK has an elaborate health policy based on the Public Health Law and has formulated policy directives to reduce inequality in the health status of the population. The Medium Term Strategic Plan for Developing the Health Sector (2016 -2020) was drafted in coordination with the country’s major health sector partners. Several program-specific strategies and plans are being updated in line with global strategies and commitments.

PMAC side meeting – financing of primary health care in Southeast Asia Region

PMAC side meeting – financing of primary health care in Southeast Asia Region

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste