Eugene Bell Foundation’s North Korea Medical Director Named to World Health Organization Initiative Combatting Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis

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Dr. Kwonjune Justin Seung, Medical Director of the Eugene Bell Foundation, has joined the Core Group of the Global Drug-resistant Tuberculosis Initiative of the World Health Organization.

Our work in North Korea is vital to the survival of those suffering with tuberculosis.

The Eugene Bell Foundation’s Medical Director, Dr. Kwonjune Justin Seung has been appointed to the World Health Organization’s newly formed Core Group of the Global Drug-resistant Tuberculosis Initiative (GDI). GDI’s mission is to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) around the world by accelerating the global response to MDR-TB and encouraging partnerships and information sharing among key groups addressing MDR-TB both in the field and the laboratory.

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2012 there were 450,000 MDR-TB cases globally. Only 21% were actually diagnosed correctly and even fewer received proper treatment. For those suffering in high burden developing countries, MDR-TB can be an unnecessary death sentence.

Among the hardest MDR-TB patients to reach are those in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea also known as North Korea. Dr. Seung’s work in North Korea as Medical Director of the Eugene Bell Foundation has led to life-saving treatment for thousands of patients. It is that real-world, unique experience that led to his appointment to the GDI Core Group out of over 80 candidates.

“Our work in North Korea is vital to the survival of those suffering with tuberculosis,” said Dr. Seung. “ I am looking forward to sharing with the committee the lessons we have learned in the field and also look forward to learning from my colleagues at the GDI as we combat this issue around the world.”

About the World Health Organization’s Global Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Initiative (GDI):

The mission of the GDI is to serve as a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary platform organizing and coordinating the efforts of stakeholders to assist countries to build capacity for programmatic management of DR-TB (PMDT) in the public and private sector. The ultimate aim is to ensure universal access to care and appropriate treatment for all DR-TB patients. The group will mobilize resources and undertake activities to ensure a holistic, quality-assured, patient-centered approach for all DR-TB patients within existing TB care structures as well as through innovative new partnerships in priority countries.

About the Eugene Bell Foundation

The Eugene Bell Foundation is a charitable organization committed to ending unnecessary deaths from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in North Korea. Visit to learn more and to donate. Together we can save lives, restore families and instill hope directly to the hard to reach people of North Korea.

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John Rogers, Executive Director