Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wheelchair Training - September 2011

Elder and Sister Brown (34 years a practicing physical therapist) and Sister Misha Bradford (Professor of Physical Therapy at University of Utah) came from Utah, USA to do training for 31 physical therapist from all 22 aimags (provinces) in Mongolia.  They trained in how to fit a person in a wheelchair to comply with World Health request that we “do no harm” in giving away wheelchairs.  Deseret International Charities (DIC) furnished 266 wheelchairs in 2 styles, each style with 4 different sizes.   DIC will provide approximately 500 more wheelchairs in two shipments in the next 8 months to be given to the National Rehabilitation Center and Social Welfare. 

The participant physical therapists learned about the 7 different kinds of wheelchairs that are available and which kind might be better for a specific patient.  At this time, DIC only provides the Harmony (Standard hospital style) and Rough Rider.

The participants learned how to properly lift someone so neither patient or doctor is injured or hurt.

.Assessing a patient involves a lot of specific questions in order to match the patient's lifestyle and physical abilities, to the proper type and size of wheelchair.

Both directors of the National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) and the Social Welfare Department came to the opening and closing ceremonies.  They both supported the training and was proud of the participants.  They were amazed at the different aspects of training and are so thankful for the doctors taking their time to volunteer their time to come to Mongolia and share their knowledge.

Getting the wheelchairs through customs was a daunting task for Social Welfare, but persistence pays and we were finally able to have the chairs released the day before the final fitting to recipients.  It was a monumental effort on many volunteers who helped move the chairs to transport vehicles, haul them up to the 2nd and 3rd floor of the National Rehabilitation Center or to the Social Welfare Department.  The final hurdle was to assemble enough Rough Rider chairs for the recipients to take home with them the next day.  With a lot of prayers and Pizza for fuel we were ready for the Saturday fitting day and the dozens of patients scheduled to come to the NRC.

I guessed we would get 30 on a truck at most - They took 50 plus several boxes of seat cushions on each truck so we only needed one trip to NRC.  The one truck going to Social Welfare was much bigger and took all their chairs in two loads.
Assembly time at the NRC went until about 10:00 PM.
The Rough Rider is a chair with larger front wheels and a little lower center of gravity to handle the uneven terrain and rough riding conditions.  The current orders are for more of this style which will much more practical for travel on dirt roads, paths, curbs and other common obstacles what wheelchair riders experience daily.  Handicap friendly buildings or homes are a rarity
This sweet lady was the first one there promptly at 9:00 AM.  She borrowed a wheelchair from a friend and moved herself over three miles over the normal rough roads and sidewalks to get to the NRC.  She didn't complain even though one of the front wheels kept falling off the borrowed chair on the way to the NRC and she had to keep stopping to put it back on.  We asked her how she intended to get back home and she just said that she would push the borrowed wheelchair ahead of her new Rough Rider and just go home.  When DIC offered to pay for her taxi home, she just got teary eyed and kept saying thank you, thank you.

The National Rehabilitation center teaches individuals many different skills (sewing, gardening, physical therapy and traditional sewing with felt) and including cooking/catering.  We contracted with the school to have the students furnish the meals to the participants, teachers and leaders during the training.  The Doctors were concerned that they might not experience Mongolian cuisine during their visit, but they ate some of the best that week.

Neonatal Resuscitation Training in September 2011

The first part of September we sponsored Neonatal Resuscitation Training (NRT) training of  103 OB/Gyn Doctors, midwives and nurses from almost all the amags (provinces) in Mongolia.  DIC sponsored 4 short term specialist to travel from USA to do the training.  They used the curriculum (under license) from the Helping Babies Breathe program.  The training was in 2 sessions of 2 days each.  Each participant sat in lectures then had hands on experience using manikins. When you resuscitate the manikins they respond just like a real baby giving the participants the same feeling as working on a real baby.

Deseret International Charities also donated training kits, masks, stethoscopes, baby suction bulbs, Helping Babies Breathe books, Training flip-charts and wall posters.  There was enough equipment donated to furnish this needed materials to all the major clinics and hospitals in Mongolia.
The participants said the training gave them more confidence in dealing with a baby who is in distress and not breathing after birth. Most babies are born normally and start breathing on their own.  Unfortunately in about 10% of the births, the newborn baby DOES have problems starting to breathe on their own.  The good news is that almost all of them can be resuscitated using the simple techniques learned from this training.

 Each two participants worked hard and helped train each other.  They learned that they could learn from each other’s experiences.  The hands on training develops more confidence in the attending doctors.  When the “babies” are resuscitated correctly the chest moves up and down simulating a real baby breathing.  The lungs hold the same amount of air as a real baby and even cries when done correctly

Dr. Steve Grover, Sister Anna Richardson , and Elder Richardson

The Executive Director Elder Richardson and his wife, Sister Richardson, of Deseret International Charities are proud that they could be part of this valuable training.  They are happy to assist the effort which will help more children live to be a blessing to their families.

Dr. Dennis Hughes, Dr. Steve Grover, Elizabeth Howell Nurse Practitioner and Dr. Bayasaa share in the awards ceremonies.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sukhbaatar Well

The beautiful valley north of Ulaanbaatar in the Sukhbaatar District is a fast growing area that is desirable for gardening and its beautiful setting away from the city.  The main road going up the valley is commonly called "vacation road" because so many residents have summer countryside homes further up north.
They are very excited to be able to get their water from basically their own neighborhood.  They have been traveling 1-3 Kilometers down the road to get their water, or catching the water truck that travels around the area.  Most of the water is carried in 25 liter containers on a two wheeled cart that is pulled by a family member back and forth from the water source.

This is part of the ground-breaking ceremonies.  The land needs to be paid back for us removing some of it's resources, so milk is the item custom dictates will be used to show the land that those who will be using its water are grateful.
Local dignitaries and residents burying the ceremonial box at the site.
All had the opportunity to take part in the start of their new clean water site.
Early in September we received approval for this new well to be constructed in the 15th Khoroo.  All the paperwork, approvals and plans to help this growing area of Ulaanbaatar are on track now.  This well will provide drinking water for about 3000 residents that live close to the well site.    The well was drilled in two days to a depth of 41 meters.  Winter is closing in quickly and the contractor is doing all he can to complete the project quickly.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nalaikh Disabled People's Kindergarten

There is an large group of disabled people in Nalaikh, which is a town located about 30 Km East of Ulaanbaatar.  The local residents felt strongly that they needed to work together to help their neighbors.  So the Disabled People of Nalaikh organization was formed to alleviate the general needs of their people.  One of the major problems is that there are about 350 families with a disabled parent which have young children at home to care for.  So these families have trouble looking for work or holding jobs.  One solution this community organization thought of is to provide a daytime kindergarten school for the young children to be taught, while their parents work.  Deseret International Charities approved a project to provide sanitary toilet facilities for this new school.   They also plan on holding various vocational classes in the basement.  The school should be completed and able to start classes next month.   More photos will be posted when the school has their opening ceremony.  

We were very excited to be able to evaluate their request and work with the Humanitarian arm (DIC) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to finance this project.  It is especially rewarding to know that for only $160 US Dollars, people who donated to the Humanitarian fund have helped to provide the toilets for their facility.  Truly with small donations, great things can be accomplished.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Welcome to Ulaanbaatar

     Anna and I (and two other Missionary couples) arrived early in the morning of May 14th to a welcome party of most of the current couples serving for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Anna and I are replacing Elder Richard & Sister Carol Lasson, who so faithfully served for two years.  It was a welcome sight to see that many smiling faces wearing the familiar LDS name tags, that made us feel welcome to the magnificent country we will be privileged to serve in.  After processing through customs and loading our luggage into the vehicles, we had a leisurely ride into Ulaanbaatar in the wee hours of the morning.  It is strange that after arriving at our apartment, getting unpacked enough to get to bed about 3:00 AM we were able to get up early in the morning for our orientation of the LDS Church building and other staff members.  Our apartment building is a very short 4-minute walk from the Church's building on Tokyo Street.
     Our first street crossing was a little traumatic as the pedestrians do not have the right of way in a crosswalk, as we are used to at home.  We were told about the traffic rules that exist here, but experiencing them facing oncoming traffic is true reality.  The method of crossing the street is to spot a gap and move to the center line and wait for a gap in the next lane of traffic.  The system works quite well and since drivers and pedestrians both understand the rules, it really works out better than in the states.  Even crosswalks at corners have to be watched because cars turning right have the right of way, although they seem to stop for us if we get careless.  
     Everyone told us we would loose weight coming to Mongolia because of the food, but I believe that I will gain weight due to the excellent restaurants and available food that is here.  We are walking and climbing stairs everywhere, but not enough to offset the great food.  We brought lots of personal food and toiletry items because we thought they wouldn't have them, but surprise, surprise, it seems every little shop in town carries the items we so carefully packed and hauled through the airports.
     Although we have spent only two days here, I already sense the wonderful spirit of the people here and their desire to do good things.  I had one of our garden coordinators come into the office (he just got out of the hospital) and he realized that the greenhouse fabric hadn't been ordered yet - and the seabuckthorn bushes hadn't been planted.  We worked out what he had to do and was back in an hour with an invoice to get things going.  He was really concerned for the Branch members in his area and his responsibility to serve them.