Thanks to the generous support of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association, Dr. Maggie Lovin had an outstanding experience in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where she worked with local urologists and patients at the National Center for Maternal and Child Health from October 20-28, 2018.
Dr. Lovin shares her experience:
“Our team was composed of two pediatric urologists, Dr. Carlos Angel and Dr. Angela Arlen and two pediatric anesthesiologists, Dr. Scott Stenquist and Dr. Laurie Steward, and myself. Our group bonded immediately, making working together effortless and enjoyable.
“We were hosted by the Pediatric Urology Department at National Center for Maternal and Child Health under the direction of Dr. Kurelbaatar Lkhagvademberrel. The 1500 bed hospital in the capital city is the main government referral hospital in Mongolia and provides free medical services to its patients through the national government insurance plan. There are six pediatric urologists serving approximately 1.2 million children in the country.
“After our flights, we got to work immediately the day we arrived to Ulaanbaatar. We conducted a busy 40 patient clinic that Sunday afternoon, booking 28 cases for the following week’s operating room schedule. We encountered a great variety of disease pathology including proximal hypospadias, ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJO), vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), urethral stricture, nephrolithiasis, epispadias-exstrophy complex, posterior urethral valves and disorders of sexual differentiation. We concluded our clinic Monday around mid-day, seeing 81 children in total.
“Monday afternoon, we began our surgical cases. We operated simultaneously with two surgical teams in separate operating rooms. This allowed ample time to teach the Mongolian surgeons the intricacies of several pediatric urologic procedures. The pediatric urologists were very eager to learn, and their enthusiasm for the workshop and their patients alike was contagious. In addition, this trip would not have been possible without our incredibly hard working operating room team, including the anesthesiologists, nurses and surgical scrub technicians. Together, we were able to treat several children with proximal hypospadias, ureteropelvic junction obstruction, vesicoureteral reflux and posterior urethral valves.
“On the last day of the workshop, we made rounds handing out soccer balls and toys to our patients to thank them for allowing us to be a part of their journey. The Mongolian parents presented us with Mongolian cashmere scarves and a traditional Mongolian game to thank us for helping their children. It was very touching to see people with so little to give, give so much.
“The Mongolian pediatric urologists made a conscious effort to make us feel at home in Ulaanbaatar. We worked hard all week, but took the afternoon of the last day off to have some fun. The Mongolian urologists took us sightseeing in the countryside. We rode camels, held eagles, and visited the Genghis Khan equestrian statue. The day ended with a Mongolian barbeque with our entire team.
“While this was my first global health mission, it certainly will not be my last. The people I met and the experiences I had in Mongolia have made an everlasting impact on my life. While there is great need for further pediatric urologic care in Mongolia and worldwide, organizations such as IVUmed are helping to bridge that gap. I would like to thank IVUmed and my physician mentors for this opportunity and I hope to use this experience as a stepping-stone to a lifelong commitment to international service.”