Faculty Publications

Title

Surgical and Teaching Mission to Mongolia: Experience and Lessons

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

June 2017

Department

Anesthesiology

Abstract

BACKGROUND: For decades, the disparity in medical care across the world along with the fundamental essence of medicine as service has laid the foundation for the global medical mission. Mongolia, a country often overlooked as an area in need of medical aid, harbors a fertile environment for long-term change. In the last 15-20 years, after the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mongolia has turned to a free-market healthcare model and has been struggling with the transition from the formally state-run system. These changes have slowed the original progress noted among surgical specialties, namely neurosurgery, in Mongolia. A lack of resources, a desire for international interaction, and a need for technical mentorship remain a real struggle for local neurosurgeons. METHODS: Under the auspices of the Virtue Foundation (www.virtuefoundation.org), we report on our 3-year experiences during our surgical and teaching mission to Mongolia and look towards long-term improvements in Mongolian neurosurgery. RESULTS: A total of 15 operations were performed and more than 50 patients seen in clinic during the 3-year experience. Patients ranged from 1 to 77 years of age. No patients encountered any significant peri- or postoperative complications. CONCLUSIONS: In our experience with the surgical and teaching mission to Mongolia, when directed appropriately, medical missions can serve as the perfect medium in fostering that environment, providing local healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to create self-sustaining improvement in their own country, hence promoting intellectual and technological advancement and raising the standard of care.

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