J Korean Soc Matern Child Health.  2022 Jul;26(3):132-139. 10.21896/jksmch.2022.26.3.132.

The Present and Future Status of Maternal and Child Health From the Perspective of Unification Medicine

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

As North Korea’s healthcare sector loses functionality under the collapsing socialist system, the gap in medical care between North and South Korea is widening. As a result, we expect that the social safety network will disintegrate in the medical field after unification, and in view of this, our study analyzes the infants and mothers who are likely to be most affected at this time to establish a direction for the promotion of unification in the future. Maternal health in North and South Korea was analyzed by the prevalence of anemia, maternal mortality ratio, prenatal and postpartum visits, and child health was analyzed by chronic malnutrition, vaccination penetration rate, and infant mortality rate to evaluate North Korea's poor nutritional conditions and medical system. The introduction of the legal system related to maternal and child health in North and South Korea includes prenatal and postpartum management and labor. Under this legal system, North Korea includes accessibility to hospitals and children's nutrition management issues, and South Korea includes subfertility treatment and postpartum care centers. As a countermeasure to the low birth rate problem emerging in both countries, the governments are providing work leave and economic support. In order to make effective use of the maternal health indicators from a unified scientific perspective, they should be calculated and codeveloped by both North and South Korea, and a multifaceted approach is needed through the setting of additional indicators such as the perinatal mortality rate.

Keyword

North Korea; South Korea; Health care system; Unification medicine; Maternal mortality ratio; Infant mortality rate

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