Public Health Policies

“On Enforcing Free Medical Care”

On November 13, Juche 41 (1952), during the fierce Fatherland Liberation War in Korea, the Cabinet of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea adopted the decision “On Enforcing Free Medical Care.”

It was a historic decision adopted under the great care of Premier Kim Il Sung who was working hard to stabilize the people’s life and promote their health during the war.

On January 20, 1952 the Premier gave senior officials of the Ministry of Public Health the historic instruction “On Making Good Preparations for Universal, Free Medical Care.” He made a serious analysis of the significance of the introduction of universal free medical care and the relevant conditions and possibilities, and clarified the problems of principle arising in pushing ahead with the preparations and suggested concrete tasks to solve them.

On October 15 of the same year, at the Premier’s proposal, the 115th meeting of the Organizational Committee of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea adopted a decision on enforcing universal free medical care at state expense for the purpose of intensifying the health and hygienic work for the sake of the people who were heroically fighting for final victory in the war; then there came a Cabinet decision on providing universal free medical care at state expense from January 1 of the next year. The decision stipulated that the inpatients at state preventive and curative medical institutions should be exempt from the doctor’s fee and the charge for medicines; state preventive and curative medical institutions were to provide free medical care to outpatients; and objects of social insurance, welfare recipients, the dependent family members of those working for state organs and cooperative and social organizations, war sufferers and special patients were also to be exempt from the charge for medicine.

And similar institutions of the People’s Army were to provide universal free medical care to civilians in order to ensure them convenience in getting medical treatment.

Besides, those wounded in bombing raids, emergency cases, patients to be helped and protected and listed infectious cases were to be hospitalized on a preferential basis and provided with the designated amount of state provisions.

Thus the most advanced and admirable health system was established just in the wartime, under which all were able to get medical treatment free of charge.