The US nonprofit organization Christian Friends of Korea (CFK) will begin construction in mid-May on a Pyongyang center that will train North Korean physicians and researchers on TB prevention and treatment. Training for North Korea’s National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory currently takes place in one of the laboratory’s hallways.
In addition, Radio Free Asia reported that 10 CFK technicians and officials will travel to North Korea this month to oversee other projects funded by the nonprofit. CFK provides assistance to 29 medical clinics in North Korea, including a TB treatment center in Kaesong.
North Korea relies heavily on foreign medical aid because hospitals frequently lack the medicines and supplies to treat TB. Eugene Bell, a South Korean charity, recently sent TB medicine worth $618,000 to North Korea; this was the first shipment of humanitarian aid from South to North Korea since South Korean President Park Geun-hye took office in February.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1,600 North Koreans died from TB in 2011.
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