SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — According to Prof. Kim Kyong-nam of Seoul National University (SNU) Hospital on Wednesday, there is a gap of 10 or more years when comparing average life expectancy in North and South Korea.
North Korean men live an average of 66.2 years, compared to 72.9 years for women. This is more than 10 years lower than the life expectancy of South Koreans, which is currently 79.3 years for men and 85.4 years for women.
During the symposium, Kim presented an analysis titled ‘Health Inequalities between South and North Korea and Priority of Cooperation’.
Kim pointed out that although life expectancy in North Korea is relatively low and the health gap is quite large, North Korea is also facing rapid aging just like South Korea.
In particular, a lack of medical technology and shortage of medicines are pointed out as major health problems in North Korea.
However, despite the health inequalities, North’s health and medical data are limited in content and lack up-to-date information as they are based on data released by North Korean authorities.
For this reason, Kim conducted his analysis by comparing data from Myanmar and Laos, developing countries with similar social structure and economic status to North Korea, and the status of South Korea in the early 1980s.
The results showed that the estimated mortality rate in North Korea supersedes that of South Korea in the early 1980s as well as in Myanmar and Laos.
Kim estimated that infant mortality and maternal mortality rates are higher in North Korean now compared to South Korea in the early 1980s.
Kim also pointed out that health care in North Korea is likely to be worse than is reported, especially for those living outside of Pyongyang.
The forum introduced various measures to solve such problems in North Korea.
Prof. Hwang Il-ung from SNU Hospital stressed the need to improve health and medical facilities in North Korea by building a medical complex that includes medical institutions and a medical industrial complex at Kaesong Industrial Complex and spreading such built-in health care infrastructure across the North.
The Korea Health Industry Development Institute proposed the need for innovative strategies that can change the paradigm of medical supply rather than the quantitative growth of resources.
The introduction of ICT-based health care services that utilize core technology from the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing, is crucial for North Korea.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)