One of the world’s most politically and culturally isolated nations, DPR Korea is a mysterious and fascinating place, seen only in rare glimpses by the rest of the world.
A brief introduction to DPR Korea
Since the 1950s Korea has been divided between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. Unfortunately, the divide between the two Koreas remains real, with a peace treaty never being concluded between the two nations.
What are the eye health problems?
DPR Korea is a low-income country and most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidised or state-funded. The only eye hospital in the country is the Pyongyang Lions Eye Hospital, while other central and provincial hospital services have eye departments to deliver eye health services for a total population of about 24 million.
The greatest issues facing eye health in DPR Korea are a lack of trained ophthalmologists (of its estimated 200 eye doctors, most do not have the capacity or skills to perform cataract surgery), inadequate medical equipment, instruments and access to consumables such as IOLs.
The Foundation’s programs in DPR Korea
In 2004, the DPR Korea Ministry of Public Health through the DPR Korea Embassy in Nepal requested our partner, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology
in Kathmandu, to assist in training North Korean ophthalmologists and to undertake surgical workshops. The Institute requested our financial support, and consequently has been working in DPR Korea since 2005.
We’re making significant progress
We supported our partner, the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, to achieve a lot in 2014:
Research, training and technology
- Supported an outreach eye camp where 5,720 sight restoring cataract operations were performed
Advocacy and partnerships
- Trained four surgeons in small incision cataract Surgery at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology
- Supplied $50,715 worth of equipment
- Supported an avoidable blindness assessment survey in Northern Hwangae Province
- Worked with the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled, a North Korean NGO which works to take care of the disabled including those who are blind, and to prevent blindness