Hospitals in Mongolia have an abominable practice in terms of sterilising the equipment. It is a well known fact among the medical community in Mongolia that there is rampant spread of hepatitis B and C through non- or insufficiently sterilised equipment. A friend of mine was told that she needed a biopsy for a tumour, but that they could not guarantee the sterility of the equipment. I've had three gaping holes in my teeth for months now and had been reluctant to go anywhere, because I know that the dentists also do not sterilise their equipment properly, and that the dentists are in fact to blame for majority of the hepatitis B and C transmissions in Mongolia. Last week I've made many calls to all dental clinics asking them how they sterilised their equipment and if their sterilisation would guarantee that no hepatitis B or C would be transmitted. Out of 10 clinics I called, 3 hung up on me, two asked me if I was a state inspector, and 1 refused to explain the method of sterilisation. I choose the one that my friend had recommended highly, because she's also aware that I am extremely psyched out about the sterilisation in dental clinics, and because the dentist herself had very patiently and succinctly explained the sterilisation process to me. Last time I checked online, there were 131 dental clinics in Ulaanbaatar alone. And I went to one that is not even on this list. So there would be many more. What about all the other clinics that are providing micro-surgical procedures and things that are necessarily involving body fluids?... There would be hundreds of those, too. I shudder to think of the effect of the insufficiently sterilised equipment on people's lives and livers down the line.
Talking of hepatitis, last year I heard from a colleague that Mongolia was a vaccine trial site of one foreign pharmaceutical corporation back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She said she heard this from quite a reliable source, and she herself is quite conversant with diverse population of people in Mongolia. It appears to have been a Western pharmaceutical, which begs the question: how did Mongolia allow a trial by a Western pharmaceitual in the depth of the Cold War? Perhaps in exchange for aid, or for more untried vaccines and medicines? I know the hepatitis B vaccine was first conceived and tried in the late 1960s as well, but could it be?!... Would that explain how come an astounding number of Mongolians are routinely diagnosed with hepatitis B and C, most of them from the 1960s and 1970s generation, and most of them passing away within six to twelve months since the diagnosis, and most importantly, most of them having lived a completely healthy lifestyle of no alcohol, etc?... Begs further questions, doesn't it. If indeed the Government of Mongolia did allow such trials without the public knowledge or consent, the least it should do now is to declassify those materials so as to allow people to know who was injected with what form of immature vaccine that had led them to develop hepatitis-related diseases.
A year and a half ago, a gay guy, lovely, beautiful soul, died of hepatitis C complications. Prior to that, his older sister had also passed away from complications of hepatitis-related disease. After his death, two more of his siblings also passed away from hepatitis C. When whole families are decimated becaues of this virus, it's time for people to allow access to information that would save their lives down the line.