Mongolian Okigusuri: Traditional Medicine Kits for Pastoral Areas [2007/09/12]
A road on the grassy plain
On August 24, a delegation from The Nippon Foundation visited Khentii Province, in Mongolia, some 300 kilometers east of Ulan Bator, to observe the foundation’s traditional medicine kit (or okigusuri) program. Local residents expressed gratitude for the medicine program, while medical officials indicated a desire to further disseminate the program.
Khentii Province is famous as the birthplace of Genghis Khan, and has a population of 71,000, raising 1.5 million head of livestock per year. From a paved road that cuts a straight line through the hills, gently sloping green and yellow plains stretch to the horizon. Beside the road, construction is underway on a massive statue of Genghis Khan. Plans also call for a nearby installation of yurts—traditional Mongolian dwellings—as tourist lodgings.
Genghis Khan rises above the grassy plain.
The county of Umnudelger, located on the Russian border, has a population of 5,200. The okigusuri program was started in the county in 2005, and since then has reached 500 or the county’s 1,165 households. Nearly 100 percent of the medicines used have been paid for, and the number of emergency house calls has fallen by more than 10% since the kits were first distributed. These numbers attest to the effectiveness of the medicines in daily prevention and first aid.
When the delegation, (in the country to attend an “Inter-regional Workshop on the Use of Traditional Medicine in Primary Health Care”), visited the family of Chizobaseren (72), they were given a warm welcome by more than ten of his children and grandchildren. Said his wife Ergesetko (59) with a smile, “Starting this year, we also received easy-to-understand guides to the medicines’ effects and how to use them, which is very useful. The medicines for colds and other ailments really work well.”
Local residents show off medicine kit.