In rural areas elderly North Koreans received no state benefits and unable to cope with the rising cost of medicine are being encouraged by their families to commit suicide. Pictures released by North Korea show elderly seniors sitting on park benches but they don’t look poorly fed or clothed. [Daily Mail UK Nov 5, 2016]
North Korea is said to spend less on healthcare per capita than any other nation – under $1 US according to the World Health Organization. [Business Insider June 1, 2014] There are private sellers of medicines without prescription. When a patient enters the hospital their family must provide all the medicines, blankets and meals for themselves and their doctors. [Asia Pacific Journal June 1, 2016] A report of a women who underwent surgical removal of her appendix without anesthesia is published. [LA Times July 26, 2010] There is no soap, running water or medicine in rural North Korean hospitals. [YouTube Nov 1, 2015]
Reliance upon herbal medicines and other traditional treatments like acupuncture is said to be common. [Library of Congress] Bear bile and ginseng are offered in lieu of patented Western medicine. [CTV News May 6, 2013]
There is a stark contrast between the reported life expectancy in South Korea (8.137 years) versus North Korea (69.50 years). [Google] But another source says women in North Korea have a life expectancy of 74.0 years, males 67.0 years. [World Health Org. May 2014]
The U.S. spends over $9000 per capita annually to achieve another 10 years of life (79.68 years) compared to North Korea. [Peter Peterson Foundation Oct 17, 2016] For comparison, Italy and Japan spend $3971 and $4152 per capita on health care, less than half what the US spends, and achieve a life expectancy of 82.12 and 84.74 years. [Info Please]
The U.S. cannot brag about its health care in comparison to North Korea. Poor neighborhoods in Baltimore have a life expectancy similar to North Korea. [CNSMaryland Aug 1, 2016] The comparative low life expectancy in North Korea is largely attributed to a high infant mortality rate. [UPI.com Dec 21, 2015]
North Koreans are said to consume ~2094 kilocalories per day versus ~3056 kilocalories per day in South Korea. [UPI.com Dec 21, 2015] A famine in North Korea in the 1990s resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. [LA Times March 30, 2016] But health authorities consider 2000 calories per day a healthy diet and a life-prolonging calorie restricted diet of 300-500 fewer calories per day might actually increase healthy lifespan. [Live Science July 8, 2008] It could be said that North Korea has low-calorie malnutrition, lacking in essential nutrients, whereas the U.S. has high calorie malnutrition.
Politically, photos coming out of North Korea these days appear to be propaganda. Kim Jong Un, North Koreas leader, appears in perfectly lighted photos which somehow get into the Western News Media with rapidity. [UPI.com] Un is portrayed as a bad boy who executes anybody who opposes him. [Daily Mail UK Oct 20, 2016] North Korea is repeatedly portrayed as a renegade in the league of nations that threatens neighboring countries and even distant countries with ballistic missile launches. [Fox News Nov 1, 2016] Americans are oblivious to this planned propaganda that keeps surrounding nations in Asia reliant upon the U.S. military for defense. Kim Jong Un’s recklessness is posed as a risk to open WWIII. [The Sun UK Oct 7, 2016] The threat of war and rumors of wars keeps the U.S. military budget intact.