A number of parasites were found in the stomach of the North Korean soldier who recently defected across the Joint Security Area on November 13. Why would an elite solider be afflicted by parasites? ASIAPRESS investigated. (Kang Ji-won/ISHIMARU Jiro)
*Parasiticides are available inexpensively from North Korean markets.
It is not unusual for North Koreans to ingest parasite eggs, because farmers continue to use human manure to fertilize their crops.
During the chaotic period of the 1990s famine it was harder to acquire parasiticides, the substance used to kill parasites inside the host. But what’s the situation now? A reporting partner in a northern area of North Korea investigated:
“People can buy a parasiticide, called ‘Albendazole,’ in the market. One pill is 0.5 Chinese Yuan (KRW 81). It seems to work fine. The medicine, unloaded at Nampo port, was supplied as aid by the U.N. Anybody can buy it from private medicine traders (who acquire it through illegal means). Another is a China-made parasiticide, called ‘Anthlemintic.’ One pack is 1.5 Yuan (KRW 246).”
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-A number of parasites were discovered during an operation to save the life of the recently defected North Korean soldier. Don’t they supply parasiticides to the military?
“Well, it’s hard for me to say, but it may not be of help to supply the military with this medicine. They would likely sell it all! These days, soldiers in the North Korean military struggle to feed themselves, and manage to make ends meet by selling supplies (to traders). All medicine supplied to them finds its way into the markets through traders.
-Is the food situation in the military that bad?
“The military is in a terrible condition. Female soldiers, to whom the military supply sanitary pads, sell them in the markets. They do this because they’re hungry. The officers may or may not use parasiticides, but the soldiers tend to sell them.”
*ASIAPRESS sends Chinese mobile phones into North Korea to cover the inside story