Korean J Med Hist.  2007 Jun;16(1):37-70.

The Health Care in North Korea during the Period(1945-1948) between Liberation from Japanese Occupation and Establishment of North Korean Government

  • 1Department of the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hwangsi@snu.ac.kr


This paper, mainly based on literature and documents from North Korea and Russia, described how health care system had been formulated during the period of between liberation from Japanese Occupation and formation of its own government in North Korea, which is so-called 'the Period of People's Democracy'. North Korea authorities, by themselves, address that their health care system is characterized by state medicine, universal free medical care, emphasis on preventive medicine, community(ho) doctors in charge, provisions of modern medical services in parallel with traditional ones, imposed high value on ideologies of medical personnel, and mass participation of health programs so on, taken rise since this period. Under North Korea's socialistic regime, authorities started to restructure health care system through national health care organizations and institutes, which partially provided medical service free. Also, they emphasized preventive medicine against 'capitalistic' treatment-oriented medicine, and community(ho) doctor in-charge was derived from this period. It showed that the mass participation on health program was equal hereafter and they had under bias toward more emphasis on ideology of medical personnel rather than their professionalism. The attempt to develop traditional medicine had been made during this period, however, much funding and support was not observed. In this period, it showed that a series of action to restructure health care system had been gradually carried out.


North Korea; Health Care; People's Democracy; State Medicine
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