Physicians from Mongolia Visit Toyama to Study Okigusuri System [2007/07/04]
At the invitation of the Nippon Foundation, Mongolian physicians and NPO members visited Japan from April 16th to 23rd, to study Toyama Prefecture’s okigusuri medicine system.
With the collapse of the Soviet system, dramatic social changes and financial problems led to a significant decline in Mongolian medical services. Thus, in 2004, the Nippon Foundation embarked on a project to provide assistance, disseminating a system modeled on Toyama Prefecture’s okigusuri system, and last year inviting Mongolian physicians to Japan. This April’s trip was the second tour for Mongolian physicians.
Mongolian physicians at the Nippon Foundaiton
A total of 12 participants were invited: eight physicians, including Dr. Badamjawa Boldsaihan, manager of the Traditional Medical Department at the Mongol National Central Hospital (57) and Dr. Preb Jabzanrgcha, director of the Umngeldel County Hospital in Hentiy, and four members of Vansemberuu-Mongolia, a Mongolian NGO disseminating the system in the country. On the 17th, the group paid their respects to Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, and visited the Kitazato Institute in Tokyo. On the 18th, they traveled to Toyama Prefecture, and on the 19th, they took a tour of Koukandou, a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Toyama City specializing in okigusuri pharmaceuticals.
Mongolian physicians at Toyama
There, the Mongolian visitors learned about quality control and customer service methods from Koukandou personnel. They also visited the printing facility of the Kita Nippon Shimbun and the Institute of Natural Medicine at the University of Toyama Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Mongolian okigusuri kits generally contain 12 different drugs, including digestive medicines and antipyretics, quite similar to their Japanese counterparts, but based on traditional Mongolian medicien. These kits are distributed to some 10,000 households by physicians from county hospitals in five prefectures, primarily in nomadic areas. The physicians also handle refills and collect fees for the drugs used. As indicated by the high rates of fees collected, this system has taken gradual but solid root throughout society.
Currently implemented on a trial basis, this project is expected to supplement Western-style medical care and is slated to expand throughout the country.