Debbie Lee - Doctor in Mongolia
Hello my name is Debbie Lee and I currently work as a Director for Quality and Research at a National Guard Medical City in Saudi Arabia. For many years I have undertaken voluntary work in Africa and thoroughly enjoyed my experience, but as I am getting older I wanted to branch out to something new. I had a real urge to travel to Mongolia., Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was for the adventure, or maybe it was because of the richness of their culture and history that attracted me like a magnet. I was so lucky because a friend found Projects Abroad on the internet and they catered for my every need. I signed up for their medical programme that I could undertake over two weeks during my vacation – perfect in every way!
The minute I arrived I knew I had done the right thing. Projects Abroad were there to greet me, and had thought of every detail. After an orientation day I was assigned to work in The Mongolian State Hospital. This is a large 80 year old hospital in the centre of Ulaanbaatar. It covers all the tertiary care apart from Paediatrics and Emergency care.
I was assigned an English speaking supervisor named Amarjargol Tsedensambaand, who was the assistant head nurse. We had great fun sharing ideas and experiences before we agreed a useful project. Because of my experience as a nurse Director, my task was to assess nursing within the hospital and write a report for the Board to assist with their future planning. During my two weeks I spent extensive time in the following areas:
- Tour of the full hospitals
- Gastro and Endocrinology ward
- Cardiology and CCU
- Outpatients including
- Ultra sound
- Nuclear medicine
- Tour of surgery
The staff were very welcoming and were happy to share and let me observe their activities. The amount of English spoken was very limited, but, every day I would find either a Doctor or visitor who could help.
I completed my review and was so overwhelmed with the lack of resources, particularly staffing levels, that I have agreed to come back next February 2013, something I’m very much looking forward to. If anyone is considering visiting Mongolia via Projects Abroad I would be happy to make contact with you either via email or Skype.
Things to bring if you’re undertaking the Medical project
If you visit Mongolia and are undertaking the Medical project, the following list of gifts would be very much welcomed:
- Dressing materials
- Eye protection
- Any single use instruments
- Training information
- Professional magazine’s and clinical books
Visit to Gerel orpahange
I was very lucky to be able to link with the Gerel Ophanage during my visit as a friend who was fellow Projects Abroad delegate was assigned to work there. This was an amazing place consisting of a home for 22 children plus that also managed an out reach service offering a range of clinical services. The place was immaculate; the children were all very happy and stable. It was simply a beautiful place. No Orphanage can replace a loving home, but this came very close. I spent just two days there and got involved with caring for the babies. It doesn’t take long to get attached and it was a very special opportunity. Grabbing every experience you can while in Mongolia is highly reccommended. The place is so unique, and you leave with far more than you have given.
Customs and Culture
With the support of Projects Abroad I was able to really get an insight to the Mongolian culture. Living with a Mongolian family really gave me a true feel to everyday life. The people are so friendly and curious to learn about the countries we have come from, and sharing food and lifestyle was so much fun. My ability to communicate soon picked up after a few days: just learning a few Mongolian words goes a long way. Although I was only there for two weeks, during my vacation I was able to attend evening cultural events and go into the country and visit a nomadic family and have the pleasure of eating with them in their Ger. During my visit I experienced International Children’s Day. The day is devoted to mothers and children. The streets are awash of colour as people dress up in traditional costume. From museums and art galleries to Buddhist temples and traditional building, the city has so much to go and see and you won’t get bored. . Mongolia has been an adventure of a lifetime The memories will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank You Projects Abroad!