The ICDT aims to encourage North Korea in a multi-phase process for a gradual opening towards foreign countries in order to share Hungarian experiences with North Koreans representing different professional fields. This particular project focused on sharing theoretical and practical knowledge on modern medical technologies and methods as well as knowledge on changes in the field of medicine and health care in Hungary in the 1980s and 1990s.
Throughout the 1990s the North Korean health care system was in decline; partially this is due to the lack of support of the USSR causing inability to buy medicines and to develop sanitary infrastructure. After the reforms in 2003 and with international assistance, the situation has improved. However, North Korea still faces chronic malnutrition, infectious diseases, and food shortages.
This project is the continuation of the ICDT’s efforts regarding North Korea. After training North Korean diplomats in 2008, the study tour for doctors is the second step of a multi-phase process gaining significant international attention and support.
The project started with a week-long course for three North Korean doctors, in which they were presented with case reports on various diseases, including diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, endocarditis, arrhythmias; cardiomyopathy, and hypertension.
Subsequently, the Hungarian health care system and policy as well as the Hungarian sanitary reform, emphasizing challenges of the management faced during the 1980s and 1990s were analyzed in a 3-day training course. The study tour also included site visits to hospitals of the Semmelweis University in Budapest and discussions with the management. Main elements of the training were collective evaluation and continuous discussions of the current Hungarian health care system.
Complementary to the theoretical knowledge, the doctors visited the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology; and the Central Laboratory of the hospitals of the Semmelweis University.