It’s hard to believe that a month has already gone by.  I am sure the month of April will be even faster than March and I will be home before I know it.  I apologize for not writing sooner, I have been under the weather the past few days but am finally much better.

Prior to getting sick, the pace of work was moving quite quickly for most of my projects.  I was going to meetings almost daily with the National Center for Communicable Disease, Health Science University here in Ulaanbaatar to discuss logistics for the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Study, or meeting with the key stakeholders for the Community Awareness Project.  Needless to stay I have almost completed the study design for the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Study thanks to the help of a researcher from Health Science University who will help translate the documents and carry out the study after I am back home.  I believe he will use this study as his master thesis. We will be getting ethical approval from the University IRB within Mongolia, which will enable us to publish results in the future and share that with you.  I have been told that things often move slowly compared to the states- but I am not personally experiencing that.  I have found that a lot of information is not widely shared between research institutions as it is in the states.  Many documents are only available if you have a connection with certain organizations. It is not as easy as going on google scholar and searching for a general topic and finding what you are looking for.  There is limited research available on Mongolia unless you are here and know someone doing the research.  This makes things very difficult for me as an outsider coming in to do research.  I have no idea what sort of research has been done in the past.  Thankfully, I have the expertise from local researchers as guides, but I could not imagine coming in without those resources.

Update on my projects:

So basically my projects revolve around the problem that there is a lot of hepatitis in Mongolia and a lot of that hepatitis leads to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.  In Mongolia, 78% of liver cancer is diagnosed in stages three or four.  Much of hepatitis cases within the country go undiagnosed because the population is not aware of the disease, because testing is not readily available or because they do not know they could be at risk.  In order to change this within the population we are planning a community awareness campaign to encourage testing, treatment, and to educate the public on viral hepatitis so they know their options and have the resources to get tested.  It is an important public health issue for the country and will continue to be so until awareness of the issue is brought to the public.

In a meeting last week with the key stakeholders from the World Health Organization, the Public Health Institute of Mongolia, the National Cancer Center of Mongolia, Mongolia Broadcasting and National Center for Communicable Disease, I was able to hear ideas about the campaign and what it should look like (I understood some- most was in Mongolian but later translated back to me through coworkers).  This will ideally be a very large campaign throughout the country-talk revolved around a reality show, various communication messaging methods, and what we want the participants to get out of the campaign.  I am meeting with the representative for Mongolian Broadcasting to discuss the strategic planning and the communication messaging for the campaign tomorrow.  I am looking forward to have the experience working on such a large scale project.  It will definitely consume a lot of my hours – probably more than expected but will be very rewarding to see the results.

I have also assisted the World Health Organization with editing their translated subprogram on viral hepatitis.  This has been great exposure into their specific projects and goals for the coming year.  It was exciting to learn that FIRE was apart of some of their goals and projects to be carried out.

Thank you for taking the time and interest in my blog! Please feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments as you see fit! Sorry I do not have many pictures this round- work has not been very photogenic ??