What is life like for pregnant women in The DPRK ?
This depends widely on where a woman lives in the DPRK. Pyongyangites have access to free medical care at the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital which is a well developed hospital that has various wards specifically set up for women’s care including a breast cancer wing that was built in 2012. The DPRK’s hospital network is also relatively developed in provinces surrounding Pyongyang. There are additional maternity hospitals in North and South Pyongan Provinces with the former being certified by UNICEF as a “Baby-Friendly Hospital.” However, care for pregnant women is under developed in the DPRK’s northern provinces and there is a lack of quality medical infrastructure and care for women in rural areas.
To give you a clearer picture of life for pregnant women in the DPRK, UNICEF recently released a report taken from a nationwide sample population which stated that the infant mortality rate in the country is 12 deaths per 1,000 babies which is in line with global targets. Moreover, 70% of women use some form of contraception and 93.7% of women visited a healthcare facility at least 4 times during their pregnancy.
Kim Jong Un has made an effort to further develop health care in the DPRK. New hospitals have been built and modern as well as traditional Koryo pharmaceutical factories have been upgraded to produce drug-resistant medicine and modern forms of contraception. However, despite these efforts, the DPRK’s healthcare services have not reached a world-class standard although they far exceed other developing countries’ healthcare services.