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A TB patient in a clinic in North Korea Credits: Gerstner/Caritas Germany

A TB patient in a clinic in North Korea
Credits: Gerstner/Caritas Germany

Tuberculosis affects a large number of people in North Korea. The country’s international isolation and poverty mean drug supply is unreliable. Resistance to tuberculosis can develop if patients receive inconsistent or partial treatment. If multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) does occur, it can be harder and more expensive to treat.

Caritas is one of the few aid agencies able to work in North Korea. Teams regularly travel there with medical supplies to support TB care centres. Caritas also provided generators to a TB hospital in Hadan in 2009. Surgeons will now be able to carry out operations with electricity and light.

TB is a preventable and treatable disease. Yet, an estimated 1.8 million people died fromTB in 2008. Caritas Internationalis took part in theWorld Stop TB Partnership Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March.

Representatives presented models developed by faith-based organisations that focus on grassroots efforts, partnerships with governments, international donors and other members of civil society, and integrating HIV and TB diagnosis, care and treatment.