North Korea and the Republic of Congo will exchange medical professionals, equipment and training services over the next five years as part of a protocol signed on March 24 in Pyongyang, the Congolese Minister for Health and Population said this week.
Minister Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo said that a priority focus would be exploring cooperation with the DPRK on a combination of traditional and modern medical practices, an interview conducted by NK News via the consulate in London revealed.
“The protocol signed between the Congo (and) the DPRK involves purely health issues and health cooperation between the two countries,” the Consulate said, relaying Mikolo’s answers to submitted questions.
“The two countries have agreed to work collaboratively in exchanging expertise and developing mutual projects aimed at improving the appreciation of health between the two countries,” it added.
Mikolo and her delegation traveled to Pyongyang between March 23 and March 28 to hold talks with North Korean counterparts and to sign the protocol.
One of the key revelations from the interview is that a dual purpose of Mikolo’s visit was to seek a resolution to the issue of North Koreans illegally entering the country and illegally providing medical care.
“Yes, there are Korean doctors currently working in Congo. However, most of these doctors, not only entered the Congo illegally, but were also practicing medicine illegally,” the consulate said, in response to whether or not North Korean doctors were currently active in the country.
“So, one of the issues discussed during the visit in DPRK was to try and regularize these doctors and to ensure that any doctors from DPRK wanting to come and practice medicine to Congo will be able to do so using appropriate and legal channels.”
North Korean doctors have been known to work overseas and in other African states, reportedly including Libya, Nigeria and Tanzania. In Tanzania, the North Korea doctors were also reportedly operating without work permits and their practicies did not have the necessary business licenses – leading to their closure, according to Radio Free Asia in 2016.
According to state media coverage of the trip, the delegation visited several medical facilities including the Okryu Children’s Hospital, the Breast Tumour Institute of the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, the Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital, the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory, the Institute of Koryo Medicine and the Munsu Rehabilitation Clinic.
Talks between Mikolo and the DPRK Minister for Public Health – Kang Ha Guk – took place on March 24 and on March 27, the delegation met with Kim Yong Nam – the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA).
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Featured Image: Pyongyang Maternity Hospital, North Korea. by (stephan) on 2008-06-09 11:19:16