Based on my recent work in Mongolia, I spent a good part of this year developing toolkits to help provincial health departments design improved systems for bagiin emch, rural health workers. (I still owe a blogpost about those toolkits.) In late July I shipped to colleagues at the Ministry of Health in Mongolia two boxes of these toolkits - 25 toolkits in total, one for each of the 21 Aimag Health Departments, and four for the Ministry. One box made it through while another was unexpectedly held up in customs. The Mongolian Customs officials demanded that duty be paid on the package.
Well, guess what arrived in the mail this week?
I shipped that package on 27-July-2009. From the paperwork it looks like Customs received it on 28-August-2009. I was expecting the customs issue to be resolved over there since it was just a box of documents, but of course the 5kg parcel was put on a plane back to California. Mongol arga. That can't be good for my carbon footprint. It looks like I'll have to find another way to get it over there. I'm thinking DHL instead of USPS+Mongol Post.
More importantly, the government is in the midst of dealing with a very serious H1N1 outbreak (Reuters article), resulting from limited access to vaccines in time for the beginning of Mongolian winter. 859 confirmed cases of H1N1, with six resulting deaths. In response, WHO sent 45,000 doses of Tamiflu to Mongolia, public places of entertainment (e.g., cinemas) have been shut down, restaurants and supermakets must close by 9PM, and schools have been shut down for two weeks (and instruction will reportedly take place via television).
A note on my absence from the blog. I've been delinquent on posting since early September because of, in order: Mayo Clinic Transform, my wedding, and work trips to Abuja, Doha, and Evanston. I plan to return to more regular blogging now, both here and at Global Health Ideas.