Day 7 Into our Trip -Jonathan

Day 7 into our trip, and day 4 at the children’s hospital completed! I continue to be amazed by this country, the city of UlaanBaatar and its people. Especially the people. At first they seem stoic but then you learn how open, caring and animated they can be. This was most evident as I met and began to work with the GI team at the children’s hospital. There are 6 GI physicians, each with their own well defined duties but working as a team to improve the care of their patients. The level of care is admirable considering the challenges they face: limited pharmacy formulary, limited laboratory and imaging (families must pay and go to a private adult hospital for a CT scan!), virtual absence of nutritional care, and a high  patient acuity level by the time they arrive at the only children’s hospital in Mongolia. Yesterday I met an infant with advanced biliary atresia who had to travel by car over 1000 miles to receive care. And these are but a few of the challenges that the dedicated staff face on a daily basis.

The hospital, with the exception of the new hem-onc wing is old and of Russian design. It is well worn and busy with narrow halls, low ceilings at times and buckled linoleum floors. It is however clean and appears efficient and orderly despite the high volume of patients.

The GI team is insular and eager to interact with same specialty colleagues. They presented troublesome patients daily, each time asking many questions about diagnosis and clinical care. The families themselves appeared very appreciative. My 3 lectures were well attended by the GI staff and residents, some lasting over 90 minutes.

As we begin to wrap up our clinical week and look forward to 4 days in the Gobi desert, I cannot help but think that this has been a profitable experience for all involved included the many Mongolian families that I have met. HI can only hope that the progress made and efforts expended will be ongoing and fruitful.

-Jonathan Evans

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