On February 24, 1980, Chairman Kim Jong Il visited the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital which was nearing completion.
After looking round the building, he said:
“Pyongyang Maternity Hospital looks excellent.
It was long ago President Kim Il Sung said that a modern maternity hospital should be built in Pyongyang.
Sorry to say, the project was delayed until recently. So the Party decided to take charge of it.”
Before the onset of construction the officials concerned came up with a design of a building with 500 beds. They presumed that it was up to a world standard, as a maternity hospital in Europe noted for its size had approximately 450 beds.
500 beds-this seemed a considerable number for the officials.
However, the Chairman advised that the hospital should have no less than 1 500 beds, 1 000 for mothers and 500 for babies.
The officials told him that to increase the number of beds they should add a corresponding number of incubators to the import list and it would exceed the foreign-exchange budget. They argued that the planned number would be sufficient for the babies, premature and immature, to be born at the hospital.
But the Chairman insisted:
“No. We should buy more. We have not spared money for the good of children.
We should consider everything necessary in equipping the maternity hospital adequately, before working out the budget.”
The import list was revised immediately.
Later, measures were taken to import thousands of sophisticated equipment including the huge number of pricey incubators.