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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 15, 1956

DECISION OF THE KWP CC PLENUM, 30-31 AUGUST 1956, 'CONCERNING THE IMPROVEMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'

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    The resolution describes plans to expand public sanitary facilities and improve the health of the North Korean citizenry.
    "Decision of the KWP CC Plenum, 30-31 August 1956, 'Concerning the Improvement of Public Health'," September 15, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98, Delo 721, Listy 59-68. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120165
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DECISION OF THE KWP CC PLENUM 30-31 August 1956

Concerning the Improvement of Public Health

Paying serious attention to public health, an important aspect of the material and cultural life of the people, our Party exerts every effort to prevent all diseases, to give the people medical aid, and maintain their health. We have been fighting to eliminate various diseases and unsanitary conditions which developed as a result of the brutal attitude toward the health of the people during the period of the domination of Japanese imperialism, and also because of the war. To increase medical aid to workers the network of state preventive health institutions has been expanded, the number of hospital beds has risen by 14.4 times compared to the period of liberation, and the number of outpatient preventive health institutions, by 27.6 times. Therefore, we have been constantly reducing the percentage of illness, the people are becoming physically strong, and the growth of the country's population has continued. However, at the present time the state of affairs of public health is still not in accord with the economic development of our country and the day to day growing material and cultural needs of the workers. The conditions of the people's lives and the sanitary conditions of work are still at a low level, and the percentage of illness from social and other diseases is high as before.

Party and government bodies have not broadly launched explanatory work about the importance of public health, the most important factor of medical preventive measures, among the popular masses which, in turn, is the main goal of Party policy in the area of health. We have not mobilized all forces to prevent various illnesses by creating the necessary sanitary conditions of work, and we are still insufficiently pursuing work to cure diseases which appeared previously. Instead of actively involving the popular masses in the work of health organizations by conducting wide-scale mass political work, part of Party organizations and the leaders of medical institutions counted only on medical workers and pursued work with narrow primitive methods. As a result of this the expected results have not been achieved in all areas of public health.

In order to rapidly eliminate these shortcomings in public health and improve it the Plenum decrees:

1. In order for the popular masses themselves to realize that public health is their vital matter and to take an active part in this work:

Making use of all possible methods and means such as lectures, explanations, conversations, verbal propaganda, the press, works of literature and art, all Party organizations, government bodies, and worker's organizations, should pursue broad explanatory and educational work among the popular masses about the importance of sanitation and hygiene. We will thereby seek for the people themselves to prevent illness and know about them in a timely manner.

In connection with this the Ministry of Education needs to develop specific measures to systematically cultivate medical knowledge in students through the schools. The Ministry of Health needs to comprehensively study questions of carrying out health propaganda. Create a central institution for health propaganda in 1956 in order to give the needed technical and methodological guidance.

2. In order to eliminate unsanitary phenomena in industrial activity and workers' daily life, and improve the people's condition of health all Party organizations, government bodies, and worker's organizations are to launch this struggle as a Party-wide and national movement.

3. Expand the sewer and water supply system of cities, consistently carry out and monitor the work for the hygienic maintenance of lavatories, expand and equip such mass-use hygienic institutions as baths, barbershops, etc., rapidly raise the level of the health service in such mass-use institutions as hotels, movie theaters, theaters, railroad stations, etc., and conduct educational work in order that the entire population maintains general hygiene and cleanliness in everyday life.

In this connection, construction institutions, institutions of the municipal economy in the cities, and local government organizations are obligated to monitor the health condition of the city and to develop specific measures to improve it.

Rural Party organizations and government bodies are obligated to keep track of the hygienic condition of wells, speed up work to improve the hygienic condition of lavatories, cow sheds, pigsties, and latrine facilities during the use of fertilizer, and to take steps to kill microbes and insects.

Party organizations are obligated to launch a mass movement in cities and villages to destroy such harmful animals and insects as mice, flies, mosquitoes, and lice. To this end the Ministries of Light Industry and the Chemical Industry are obligated to produce the needed agricultural chemicals and weapons and to release them to the population at low prices.

Commercial institutions and enterprises that produce food products are obligated to completely ensure the hygienic conditions of production and delivery of these products, improve the hygienic condition of public food service institutions, and increase educational health work among the workers of these organizations.

Public education organizations and SDM [League of Democratic Youth] organizations are obligated to actively guard the health of children and students, quickly eliminate unsanitary conditions of school institutions, classes, and rooms for sports exercises in order to continually increase their physical strength, and to implement the organization of lessons and rest in accordance with the ages of the children and students.

4. Production enterprises are obligated to protect the health of the workers by gradually improving occupational hygiene and take steps to avert an outbreak of occupational diseases in the process of work.

The appropriate ministries (directorates) are obligated to monitor the state of occupational hygiene and the work of occupational protection institutions at enterprises and seek to avert accidents and the loss of fitness for work as a result of occupational diseases by adopting specific measures to rapidly improve the operation of the occupational health and safety institutions, which is still being insufficiently done at a number of enterprises.

Trade unions, the Ministry of Health, and other appropriate ministries (directorates) are obligated to create occupational health commissions of workers of these institutions in order to comprehensively study issues of improving the state of health and occupational hygiene and to take timely measures.

5. Health organizations and anti-epidemic institutions are obligated to expand their work, consistently vaccinate the population, energetically launch organizational work to identify carriers of epidemic diseases, isolate them, disinfect and localize outbreaks of epidemics, and increase the production of various kinds of vaccines inside the country.

6. Disband the commissions and the extraordinary commission to fight epidemics which currently exist and create a committee on hygiene and to fight epidemics in order to launch a nationwide patriotic movement and organize work to improve the state of health and raise the educational [kul'turnyy] level, health, and hygiene of the population.

All Party organizations are obligated to bring into order and intensify the work of Red Cross organizations, which play an important role in the development of public health, and with their aid regularly carry out sanitary work, create medical aid posts and pursue work on the medical training and education of activists in the field of hygiene.

7. The Ministry of Health should improve the work of medical and hygiene research organizations and increase health inspection work, increasing the technical level and production role of health and hygiene inspectors in practice; internal affairs organs should carry out appropriate inspection work even more completely.

In connection with the increase of the role of women in public life in the cities, at production enterprises, in villages, and fishing villages, continue to expand the network of nurseries and kindergartens; it is especially necessary to provide for nursery and kindergarten equipment in urban construction organizations in residential housing areas.

Health and education organizations should increase public health and cultural work in nurseries, kindergartens, children's homes, and all other educational institutions, and take steps in order to increase the level of knowledge of the fundamentals of health, sanitation, and hygiene by educators.

It is necessary to provide a rational organization of labor, and bring sanitation and public health into order at production and construction enterprises, and in all institutions, taking into consideration the features of the work of women, and in the Ministry of Health by an increase of aid to women giving birth by training a large number of midwives through a system of short courses.

Broadly organize and launch work in public health organizations and women's league organizations to study and master the knowledge of the health and hygiene of mothers and unweaned babies, also the methods of raising infants.

It is necessary to produce confectionary products in the Ministry of Light Industry and in production cooperatives in large quantity and supply them at a low price, and also to produce hygienic and good-quality toys in large quantity in order to overcome the shortage in foodstuffs, the main reason for the large percentage of illness in infants.

All parties, public organizations, and health organizations should exert every effort to get clinical and preventive care closer to the people and give them more effective medical aid.

1. It is necessary to gradually expand clinical and preventive equipment; increase special medical aid, eliminating the inequality of the placement of technology and equipment, and increase special medical aid; increasing the level of use of existing and foreign equipment, and extend the hours of medical examination; broadly organizing a network of medical posts in villages, industrial regions, and urban regions, and increase clinical work even more.

2. It is necessary to eliminate any sort of situation limiting the clinical work of doctors of Chinese medicine and equip them with all the necessary therapeutic drugs, take steps to reduce their tax burden, enlist them in state clinical and preventive care organizations, and involve them in clinical work in collective medical institutions in broad measure and through their private practice.

3. To strengthen order and discipline in clinical and preventive care organizations it is necessary to increase the political and professional level of health care workers, increase their responsibility to the people by increasing educational work.

4. Constantly carry out measures to reduce the diseases which have the highest percentage of infection such as tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and social diseases, and also distoma, malaria, and gastrointestinal diseases to the shortest possible period. Conduct mass medical examinations of people exposed to social diseases more broadly, broadly mobilizing various clinical and preventive health institutions and broadly using medicines and medical instruments.

Fight to destroy crabs, crayfish, and mollusks on a wide scale in areas where distoma is widespread so that they are not used for food.

5. Try to have the population exhibit concern for health care organizations. Ministries and departments are to ensure the construction of health care institutions by mobilizing the population to pursue work to repair these organizations and put them in order.

It is necessary to reexamine the staff members of clinical and preventive health institutions, rationally improve the organization of labor in them, and release professional medical workers from unnecessary work, using them for work right in health care organizations.

Produce various medicines in large quantities and supply them to the population.

To do this mobilize and use our capabilities and raw material resources in the country, including medical herbs, to the maximum extent; develop the production of various drugs, drug ingredients first of all; accurately plan the production by types, and improve the quality of drugs by increasing the level of production of the pharmaceutical industry. Actively pursue research work to discover wild medicinal herbs and continue research to study the composition of these herbs. Sell the population and doctors of Chinese medicine large quantities of Chinese medicine drugs, and increase the exports of various wild herbs by expanding the purchase of wild medicinal herbs and the creation of homeopathic pharmacies.

The Ministry of Health should improve the system of supply of medicines and instruments, expand the network of people's pharmacies in cities, districts, and administrative centers, and increase the sale of home-grown [domashnie] drugs to the population.

Party and health organizations should put an end to the incorrect tendency of some health workers to import medicines from abroad, and put an end to the undisciplined behavior of some officials at work, and step up the fight to economize state resources.

5. The Ministry of Health and the Academy of Sciences are to widely introduce advanced medical technology and increase the work to study and develop it in conformity with the real conditions of our country; reexamine the organizational structure of medical scientific research institutions and use it rationally; take a serious approach to the selection of medical tasks closely associated with the matter of public health and involve scientific forces in their fulfillment; improve the work of scientists, provide them with the conditions for scientific research work, and also actively introduce the successes of scientific research work into practical work.

Create a scientific research institute of Chinese medicine and clinical and preventive medicine institutions of Chinese medicine in order to study and develop Chinese medicine for its clinical study, conduct work in theoretical systematization by the gradual scientific study and verification of all that best that there is in Chinese medicine.

Improve work to publish medical works and the translation and publication of advanced special medical literature.

7. Increase work to train health workers. To do this, solve the problem of a shortage of instructors in the shortest possible time by sending [them] for study in the USSR and other friendly countries, raising their professional qualities, putting an end to dogmatism and formalism in the training of instructors, increasing the quality of clinical work, and increasing work in the Marxist-Leninist education of students.

Expand the system of short-term training of mid-level health workers, and solve the problem of the shortage of specialists in the field of sanitation, and create a system of short-term training of working personnel in the shortest possible time.

8. Officials of the Ministry of Health and departments subordinate to it are to put an end to passivity and formalism in work by putting the system of operation of public health organizations in order and strengthening the unity of the system of management to consistently implement all Party and government measures in the field of health.

Put a complete end to the armchair style of work through a correct combination of professional and political management to strengthen energetic management and check on the activity of lower-level organizations.

Managers of local organizations of people's power should understand that health is an important sector of work of the organizations of people's power and to seek to improve the management of this sector.

9. All Party organizations should deeply study Party measures in the field of health daily and carefully consider the operation of health organizations, get closer to the practical work of health organizations, display Party interest in the further strengthening of the mass struggle to improve sanitation conditions and improve work with specialists in the field of health.

Primary Party organizations in health organizations should increase work for the Party seasoning of Party members and ideological educational work, try to cultivate a revolutionary world view in them, and increase the role of workers' organizations in health organizations.

The Central Committee of the Party expresses confidence that Party organizations and Party members, and also officials of public health and the entire people will unanimously rise to the struggle to improve the operation of public health organizations, an important sector of increasing the people's standard of living, and that considerable successes will be achieved in the field of public health.

Chairman of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party

Five copies printed Kim Il Sung

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