In 2001 while shooting Gobi Women's Song in Manlai Sum, South Gobi, we asked the head physician Dr. Rentsennorov, what she would like if she could have anything for her sum (county) hospital. The hospital, like others in rural Mongolia, had no running water, no inside bathrooms, and occasional electricity. It also had very little medical equipment. Dr. Rentsennorov said her dream would be a laboratory. Then her patients would not have to find transportation and drive nine hours for a blood or urine test.
The next year, Nomadicare took donated microscopes, centrifuges, and supplies, along with a medical technician to teach proper use of the new equipment. Supplies and equipment were donated by hospitals around New England. In fact, there were enough donations for two hospitals. Manlai Sum and Mandakh Sum in East Gobi received laboratory equipment and training.
About 5,000 nomadic herders from two sums now have access to blood and urine tests close to home.
Laboratory equipment, supplies, and training were later given to Altanshire Sum Ikh Khet Sum in East Gobi, as well as Kharkhorin in Ovorkhangai, improving health resources for over 100,000 rural Mongolians.
The government has subsequently taken over this project.
Dukha Health Project
To assess the Dukha reindeer herders' health needs, Nomadicare created a health database.
For seven years, vitals signs, chief complaints, and hemoglobin for 250 nomadic reindeer herders were documented. The predominant issues were high blood pressure and dental problems. Other health problems included alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking among men.
Various years Nomadicare has provided a doctor and dentist from the United States.
Nomadicare has provided health posters for schools, a children's movie on dental care, and teaching to the children of the taiga on how to prevent dental caries. We try to teach tourist agencies and tourists to take presents other than candy to the children.
Mongolian Sum Health Project
While hospitals in the capital Ulaanbatar have equipment and supplies the rural or sum hospitals often have only staff and beds. Both Mongolian traditional medicine and modern medicine could play a role in keeping nomadic herders healthy.
Mongolian traditional medicine is cost effective, culturally appropriate, and powerful. For instance, when Nomadicare invited Mongolian traditional medicine doctor, Dr. Boldsaikhan, MD to teach a course at the University of Vermont, he shocked the class by diagnosing a student’s brain tumor from a urine sample. He was right. The student had been previously diagnosed at the University Medical Center.
In two aimags (provinces) Nomadicare implemented training to harmonize modern medicine with traditional practices. A doctor and a laboratory technician or nurse from each sum hospital attended the training.
Fifty health care providers in South Gobi and 80 in Khovsgol were trained to harmonize Eastern and Western medicine. As a result, a population of 175,000 rural Mongolians now have access health care closer to home.
The government has provided microscopes to all rural hospitals. Nomadicare helped start this process.
Tests: Biochemistry and immunology, urine test, hemoglobin, glucose test, complete blood tests and others.
-Sterile techniques to protect the doctor and patients
-Quality control tests
-Preparation of patients
-Correct techniques for particular tests
-Testing procedures: drawing blood, collecting urine
Traditional Mongolian Medicine
-Pulses (12 pulses give condition of the 12 organs)
-Thearapies such as acupressure, cupping, moxibustion, massage, and energy healing