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North Korea: ICRC inaugurates a second physical rehabilitation centre

24-04-2006 News Release

The ICRC, in cooperation with the Red Cross Society and the Armed Forces' Military Medical Bureau of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has opened a new physical rehabilitation centre in Pyongyang for both military and civilian patients.

Rakrang Physical Rehabilitation Centre, Pyongyang, North Korea.   A patient performs a functional gait training exercise during the viewing of the centre by the invited guests.    

 The following was issued as a press release on April 24 2006.  


The Rakrang Physical Rehabilitation Centre, located in the southern outskirts of Pyongyang has been constructed over a one year period, and once fully operational will have a capacity to treat up to 400 patients annually.

Specialized ICRC technical delegates have provided their expertise for the design of the workshop and the ICRC has fully equipped it to be able to provide professional, up to date physical rehabilitation. They continue to train and cooperate with local orthopaedic technicians and physiotherapy assistants. As part of a longer-term investment in training, the ICRC is financing a three-year course of five orthopaedic technicians from the armed forces and the Ministry of Public Health at the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics in Phnom Penh.

" In addition, the ICRC will also provide the necessary technical and financial assistance to conduct stump revisions in a surgical annexe to the centre " says Michael Rechsteiner, the ICRC's head of the physical rehabilitation programme for the DPRK. An ICRC surgical team will work with local surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses over a two-month period in the second half of this year in order to further their training in this particular field.

ICRC activities in physical rehabilitation began in 2002 with the establishment of the Songrim orthopaedic centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and the Red Cross Society of DPRK. To date, some 2,300 disabled persons have been fitted with orthopaedic devices.

In addition to its involvement in medical activities, the ICRC promotes international humanitarian law to the State authorities, including the Korean People's Army (KPA). Furthermore, the ICRC continues to offer to both Koreas its experience and know-how in the field of establishing communications between families separated since the Korean War.