Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 2 in Mongolia (Recap) - Orientation at hospital

Saim Ban uu! (Hello)

Today (march 23rd) I went to the State Central Hospital in the morning. The department at neurology was very happy to see me. Lol they were expecting a kiwi female though! It was interesting to see that they had all read my CV, copies of which seem to be hanging on almost every wall in the department!

My supervisor's name is Dr Ambarabayasaglan and she is the Head of the Stroke association of Mongolia and the Head of Neurology Dept of the Hospital. She went around the neurology department introducing me to everyone I will be working with for the next few weeks. Most doctors I met were able to speak English enough to introduce themselves and a few could communicate very well since they had spent a month or two in USA or in Europe training. I have been given my own desk and will be examining patients and spending time with different doctors and nurses from tomorrow.

One of the doctor's that I met at Neuro Dept is called Dr Deggy. She did her Masters in Medical Anthropology from Colorado, USA and was very kind to give me a tour of the whole hospital. It kinda felt a bit funny to wear a white coat for the first time since med students don't do that in NZ. Apart from Neurology department I was shown around the ICU, Emergency, Cardiology, Surgery and the Hospital Library. The hospital itself is similar in resemblance to an Indian hospital... many many patients and seems like many different types of diseases too. The hospital has 500 beds and the technology is much better than I expected (before getting to Mongolia I was thinking there would be no electronic equipments at all!!). They do have CT, MRI, EEG etc but unfortunately the machines have broken down and need repairing and the local engineers can't figure how to fix them! Interestingly patients in Mongolia have to pay around $200-$300 USD for investigations like MRI and CT at a private Korean owned hospital across the road. But it's got nothing to do with the private hospital charging too much, even in the public system the patients have to pay for these investigations no matter how urgent the case is!! The rest of the medical care once diagnosis is made is however free but one wonders how many diagnosis are made correctly in the absence of proper investigations.

The Neuro department do have stroke care center but it is just a room with 4 beds like every other room in the hospital. The ICU looks well equipped though mostly with second hand equipments donated by Swiss/Austrian hospitals. When I say well equipped it certainly isn't like NZ but much better than what I had imagined. On the other hand the Dialysis unit only has 16 machines 8 of which are not working and according to an estimate there are at least 80 patients in urgent need for dialysis at the moment in this hospital. And it seems to me that this hospital might be the only public one in the whole country that offers dialysis!

In the evening I got to visit the Health Sciences and Medical University of Mongolia with Dr Naranbat, one of the alumni of the school who is now doing a masters in Immunology. I loved the old Russian med school building. I reckon the architecture is much better than Auckland medical school!! But maybe I only think that cos I like old buildings and architecture lol. Dr Naranbat introduced me to the president of the medical student's association and some administrative staff (dean etc) and some other key people at the university.

In summary it's been good two days. Made many friends at hospital, on the streets, in the backpackers etc. Have been walking around town for 12 hours so now feel at home here. Finally know where to so wont be getting lost :) The plan now is to fill out the selective agreement contract with Dr Ambara and the Director of the Hospital tomorrow since today was just orientation day.

Oh and I managed to get a charger for my phone (cos I left mine back home in NZ) for only $1.5!!! so i can finally use my Mongolian cell number!!

Magarsh boltal bayartai! (See you guys tomorrow :) )

[Pic 1: The exterior of State Central Hospital 1 that I am working at. Pic 2: Doctors from Neurology Dept - R to L - Dr Ambara (my supervisor), Dr Enkhee (hiding behind Dr Ambara), Dr Deggy (doesn't like people taking pics of her), Dr Oyunaa and yours truely. Pic 3: Dr Naranbat and I outside one of the med school buildings]