Beginning in 1995, EugeneBell provided food for North Koreans suffering from famine and in 1997 switched to tuberculosis assistance. For ten years (1997-2007) EugeneBell coordinated the delivery of TB medications, diagnostic equipment, and other medical supplies to fight tuberculosis, North Korea’s number one public health challenge. During that period the foundation treated approximately 250,000 people with ‘regular’ (drug susceptible) tuberculosis and provided regular medical assistance to more than seventy North Korean medical facilities throughout the country.
In 2008 EugeneBell refocused on multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, developing North Korea’s first program for treating TB patients who have failed treatment with regular tuberculosis medications. MDR-TB is much more complicated to treat than regular TB. Medications cost approximately 100 times as much and require constant medical supervision to control serious side-effects. It costs EugeneBell $5,000 to treat one patient for the required 18-24 months. EugeneBell raises funds to support this program largely from private sector donors and partner organizations that ‘adopt’ a patient. Treating one MDR-TB patient under EugeneBell’s program costs 1/20th as much as MDR-TB treatment in South Korea and 1/50th the cost of treating one patient in America. EugeneBell currently enrolls approximately 1,000 patients per year and is the largest treatment program available to North Koreans who are suffering from this dangerous and fatal disease.
Dr. Linton has studied Korea for most of his adult life and has visited North Korea more than 80 times since 1979. Linton received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, a Masters of Divinity from Korea Theological Seminary, and a Masters of Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Korean Studies from Columbia University.