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DPRK Health Minister’s Speech at 70th World Health Assembly

Pyongyang, May 27 (KCNA) — Minister of Public Health Kang Ha Guk, head of the DPRK health delegation, made a speech at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva of Switzerland on Wednesday.

It is quite significant to gather together for general discussion under the theme of “Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development” in succession to the previous theme of “Transforming Our World; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, he said, adding:
Over the last one year, the world has advanced at the big stride in achieving the SDGs, particularly, the health-related goals such as reducing maternal and child mortality, combating communicable diseases and NCDs, access to essential drugs and increasing the health workforce, etc.
The DPRK government, having endorsed on the SDGs considered to be in conformity with its policy of building a socialist power, has vigorously steered forward for those implementation based on the long-existing solid national health system with the fully-guaranteed free Universal Health Coverage as its backbone.
Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, at the 7th WPK Congress projected the important tasks facing the health sector to drastically decrease the prevalence of the diseases, to strengthen the household doctor system, to improve the quality of the health services, to promote the medical science & technology and to strengthen the medical supplies provision.
Under the 5-year National Economy Development Strategic Plan, the health sector has set the ambitious target to improve many health indicators like expectancy, infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio up to the advanced world level by the year 2020.
The consistent fundamental motto of the health sector is to leave no one left behind from the benefit of free universal health coverage and to provide utmost devotion to all the patients in all the health facilities, while focusing on the children, the future of the country.
The good example is the priority construction of the health facilities, nurseries, kindergartens and schools in the flood-affected northern part of the country last year, and the recent modern renovation of all the provincial baby homes, children’s homes and primary and middle schools for orphans.
Under the direct care and energetic guidance of the respected Supreme Leader, such new health facilities have been built over the last one year alone as Ryugyong General Eye Hospital and Medical Oxygen Factory.
Meanwhile, nationwide tele-medicine network has been technically upgraded, pharmaceutical factories renovated, pre-service & in-service medical education further improved with special inputs to the household doctors at the PHC level, and the quality of the vaccination & deworming programs further strengthened.
Since the health-related SDGs are not the sole responsibility of the health sector only, rather, the nationwide work requiring the collaboration between all the relevant sectors and stakeholders, many health issues like TB control, addressing NCD & tobacco control, preventing the importation of newly-emerging epidemic diseases like ebola & zika virus are being well-coordinated at the national multi-sectoral levels.
All these have contributed immensely to cement our people-centered health system and promoting the people’s health, and we dare to proudly say that these achievements are so precious and valid for having been secured with our own resources, despite of the unprecedented sanctions and blockade against the DPRK imposed by the hostile forces.
Two years have already elapsed since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, but the challenges impeding the independent development of sovereign countries continue to be existing in the international arena.
SDGs strongly require strict respect to the territorial integrity and political independence, guarantee of the complete and lasting sovereignty exercise of economic activities and prohibition of economic, monetary and trade measures contradicting the international laws and UN Charter.
These SDGs aspiring for the welfare of mankind will never be achieved, as far as the tyrannical political, military and economic pressure and threat of one-sided criteria and hostile concept towards other countries’ political system are not terminated.
The SDGs are an action program common to humankind that promised to remove social inequality and poverty on a worldwide scale and build a world which guarantees the full play to the dignity and creative ability of human being and rich life of not only the present generations but also posterity.
The DPRK government is committed to continuing its close collaboration with WHO and many countries in its efforts to attain the health-related SDGs.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lynxsquared/3219076580/

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