Scaling Up for North Korea

Although known as the “Hermit Kingdom,” North Korea has actively sought international assistance to fight TB.

With an estimated incidence of 442/100,000 population, the nation is 1 of 30 on the WHO’s high-burden multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) list. International funding, however, has focused almost exclusively on drug-susceptible TB.

One exception is a Eugene Bell Foundation (EBF) program to treat MDR TB patients, in collaboration with the North Korea Ministry of Public Health (MOPH); it exceeded expectations in 2008, enrolling nearly 4,000 patients. Still, there’s a large unmet need, prompting the authors of the study to recommend immediate scale-up of MDR TB treatment to North Koreans.
PLOS Medicine

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