IVI and the DPRK (North Korea)


Capacity Building and Vaccination Campaigns

With funding from the Ministry of Unification of the Republic of Korea, GSK, and Shanta Biotechnics, the IVI launched a program for the prevention and control of Hib meningitis and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) among children in the DPRK in 2007. The program focused on strengthening the country’s capacity to diagnose and conduct surveillance for Hib and JE and on helping the country to introduce modern vaccines against these diseases into the country’s EPI. 

In 2008, the pilot vaccination campaigns using Hib and JE vaccines were successfully conducted in three rounds. During the first round, nearly 3,000 children 1-6 years old in the city of Sariwon received the single-dose SA 14-14-2 JE vaccine, and 3,362 children six weeks to three years of age in the city of Nampo were vaccinated with the first dose of Hib vaccine. During the second and third rounds, the last two doses of Hib vaccine were administered to the children in Nampo. Vaccination coverage with the three doses of Hib vaccine was 95%.

In 2009-2010, IVI continued to provide training and technical assistance to the DPRK. At the end of 2009, IVI organized an epidemiology and vaccinology workshop in Vietnam for seven North Korean scientists in collaboration with Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and India’s National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED). A total of 180 doctors and public health professionals were trained in the capital city of Pyongyang, and six provincial-level workshops were organized for medical and public health professionals in five provinces throughout the country. 

Additionally, after almost three years of work, the national reference laboratory at the Academy of Medical Sciences in Pyongyang was finally established in 2010. Two laboratories were equipped according to international standards to perform diagnostic testing for JE and Hib. 

In late 2012, IVI received funding from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) for its North Korea Program, the only organization in South Korea to receive support from MOU for North Korean aid in 2012. In 2013, IVI supported a JE vaccination campaign coordinated by Caritas Germany and the North Korean Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in which over 3 million children were immunized. 

IVI also conducted training of AMS scientists for the surveillance of AES and diarrheal diseases, and several workshops on the clinical and laboratory diagnosis of AES and diarrheal diseases were organized by IVI. By the end of 2013, five hospitals in two provinces were selected to start systematic diarrheal and meningeal disease surveillance with the possibility of extending to include diagnoses of invasive bloodstream infections and other diseases.


The DPRK is a non-member state of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI).
To read about IVI’s member state benefits package, click here.