To a visitor, North Korea may seem like a worker’s paradise. Children seem to be living a fortunate and coddled life. But, when probed, one can easily find that they are extremely isolated from the rest of the world. North Korea is ill-reputed for faking a lot of things. The Kim dynasty is bursting of fake things, where everything looks like a well-designed setup. And unfortunately, its doctors and the medical care system also seem to be a part of it.
At the Kim Jong Un Children’s hospital, doctors have stories to flaunt about a CT Scanner that was ordered personally by their marshal Kim. Children look extraordinarily well inside, but to the utmost surprise, there are no real doctors to take care of them. When doubts are raised about the authenticity of doctors, the authority ignores the conversation and remains in the delusion of a robust medical care system.
The fake medical wrapper has everything to deceive the human eyes, while the reality is far beyond imagination. There are modern and clean medical equipment, sky scraping hospitals, and there are doctors, but there is no cure for patients’ illness. When a patient approaches these doctors for consultation, they frequently tell them to just ‘eat well’!
Many North Korean medical clinics are operating with unsubstantiated and ineffective treatments, unqualified doctors, junk devices, and improper or fake medicines. Some of these clinics have no licenses and doctors have no work permits. Many are reportedly working in a joint operation with the ruling party, and serve as a source of hard currency for the party.
There is a confidence crisis in the North Korean health system. Consequently, North Koreans, when in need of medical care, choose to consult their local ‘black market doctors’, instead of going to a so-called ‘real doctor’. The ruling party boasts of having hospitals everywhere in the country, but since the country’s economic collapse in the mid-1990s, access to medical treatment has become the sole concern of the patients. All they have is a hope that their medical conditions will improve – that they will soon rejoice to a trustworthy medical system – that one day they will be treated by real doctors!