The prevalence of parasitic worms causing health problems in North Korea may be the result of a personal intervention by Kim Jong Un, who urged farmers to spread human excrement on their fields to fertilize crops.
hermit nation's leader
issued an instruction to farmers in 2014 telling them to use human faeces with animal waste and organic compost on their fields. With a lack of livestock to provide animal fertilizer, agriculturists poured the human excrement, also known as "night soil", on their fields.
Kim's pronouncement further precipitated the falsehood in North Korea that human waste was the best fertilizer for crops despite the dangerous parasites and worms found within in it,
The nutrition and widespread health problems that
blight North Korea
have been highlighted by one North Korean soldier who has recently defected to the south. The army sergeant was found to have dozens of flesh colored parasites in his digestive tract, one of which measured 10.6 inches in length.
"In my over 20 year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook," the lead doctor working on the case, Lee Cook-jong, said.
The huge parasites, along with the contents of the soldier's stomach, have confirmed the lamentable state of of the North Korean diet. "Although we do not have solid figures showing health
conditions of North Korea
, medical experts assume that parasite infection problems and serious health issues have been prevalent in the country," said Choi Min-Ho, a professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, who specializes in parasites.
The soldier, who has not been identified but is reportedly in his mid-20s, was flown to hospital on Monday after being shot several times while making his escape to South Korea. He was hit in the buttocks, his armpit the back of his shoulder and his knee as he was struck by a hail of bullets from his former North Korean comrades.
North Korea's state spending on food and public amenities like electricity have long been dwarfed by its military spending.
The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (DCNKHR) has outlined how North Korea spends 20 per cent of its annual GDP on the military despite the lack of adequate food.
In the past year,
Pyongyang has increased
the rate of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests to warnings from the international community and the United States.
In September North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear weapons test. The government claimed it had exploded a hydrogen bomb capable of being mounted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile.