In the News – N. Korea launches first multi-purpose vaccination project

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In the News – N. Korea launches first multi-purpose vaccination project

North Korea has launched its first multi-purpose vaccination project recently with funds provided by international organizations, including UNICEF, part of which was contributed by South Korea, according to its state media and officials in Seoul.

The North held a ceremony this past Thursday to launch the Pentavalent Vaccine project aimed at inoculating children against five diseases — diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and haemophilius influenza type b — before beginning the project at two hospitals in Pyongyang, state media reported.

During the ceremony, the North’s health minister, Choe Chang-sik, thanked international organizations for their support for the project, saying close cooperation between the U.N. Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) helped realize the project.

A UNICEF official said the organization funded the vaccination project with money collected from South Korea and other donor countries, and Seoul’s contribution represents a large portion of the fund.

According to an official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry, Seoul provided UNICEF with US$5.65 million from its inter-Korean cooperation fund last year for the purposes of purchasing vaccines and other medical supplies, and $900,000 of it is earmarked for vaccination-related purchases.

 

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In the News – Most N.Korean Children Undernourished

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In the News – Most N.Korean Children Undernourished

Nearly two-thirds of North Korean children under 10, or some 2.2 million, suffer from growth disorders related to malnutrition and 18,000 of them are so undernourished that their life is at risk, according to a study.

Hwang Na-mi, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs in Seoul, published her findings in the March issue of the journal Health and Welfare Forum on Sunday. She analyzed a nutrition assessment conducted in the North by the UNICEF in cooperation with the North’s Central Statistics Bureau in 2004 and 2009.

According to the study, 2.2 million or 61.7 percent of the North’s 3.55 million children under 10 were underweight, chronically malnourished with stunted growth, or acutely undernourished with a frail physique. Some numbers overlap.

Some 320,000 or 18.8 percent of children aged 0-4 years were underweight, and 430,000 or 23.1 percent of those aged 5-9. Five-year-old North Korean boys weighed less than 14.1 kg and girls less than 13.7 kg on average, about 4 kg lighter than their South Korean peers.

Some 1.23 million or 34.7 percent of children under nine showed stunted growth for their age due to malnutrition. Some 210,000 or 6 percent were frailly built and underweight for their height as a result of acute malnutrition.

Conditions varied widely between regions. In Ryanggang Province, which has no proper food rations and suffers from a lack of farmland, a massive 82.1 percent of children were undernourished, nearly double the percentage in the capital Pyongyang (43.5 percent). Next came South Hamgyong, North Hamgyong, and Jagang provinces.

“The health of North Korean children has improved thanks to food aid from the international community, but most of them are still undernourished,” Hwang said. “Some 0.5 percent of the North’s entire child population are at a high risk of dying of diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia or diarrhea because their immune system is so weak due to extreme malnutrition.”

 

Original article can be found here.