Journal first entry,
In a few days, I will be traveling to Rason, a city in northeast North Korea in partnership with Pacific Northwest Surgical Outreach (PNSO) and the NK medical outreach team. This country I am venturing to holds a special place in my heart because of the fact that this is where my grandfather grew up when he was a child. I wish to learn about the people, culture, and land from where my ancestors came and hopefully, by the end of it, broaden my perspective and understanding a part of my heritage in a connected and meaningful way. I am feeling a whole array of emotions from unease to excitement and eagerness. I am so grateful for this opportunity. While there, I plan to journal things I see, events that take place, medical relief activity, etc. I will try to send along updates as much as possible. Ultimately, I hope this experience not only benefits me, but also the people I aspire to serve while there.
On this trip, we will be supplying those in needs with vitamins and general healthcare. We have brought large supplies of Vitamin A pills. multivitamins, and dietary supplements for North Korean patients. In some situations, Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness and result in severe injury. These pills can help with Vitamin A deficiency of the North Korean population. The multivitamins and dietary supplements will be brought in order to assist diet. Currently, malnutrition is a major issue in North Korea due to chronic food shortage. Hopefully, we will be able to help fight, to some degree, this issue.
Another pressing issue which affects North Korean citizens is the increase of chronic diseases. We will be trying to establish a sustainable diabetes clinic while we are there. Setting up this clinic will not only provide short term relief, but it will hopefully provide long term support and will set a precedent for more clinics. I believe this is necessary addition because of the mostly under-resourced healthcare system that languished during the mid-1990's. A diabetes clinic in addition to primary care clinics will be essential for the local community. The clinic will provide more focused operational support and will be necessary since diabetes is a leading healthcare concern in this region.
North Korea is in need of stronger healthcare system and more medical attention; I hope in Partnership with PNSO and our medical outreach team to be part of the solution.