In today’s edition, we talked to Dr. B.Ulaankhuu, one of the Mongolian citizens living and working in Turkey. He is a cardiologist and a doctor of immunology. He has been working in the “Acibadem” hospital in Turkey for many years, contributing to ensure people's health in Turkey.
How did you start working as a doctor in Turkey? How many years have you been working there?
First of all, thank you for inviting me for an interview. My name is Ulaankhuu. I am a cardiology doctor. In 1999, I came to study at Ankara University School of Medicine in Turkey. After graduating from the university, I started working as a cardiologist at Acibadem Hospital in Turkey and this year is my 12th. My dream of becoming a doctor started in high school. I was studying in the optional chemistry class at School No.5 in Mongolia. At that time, the beginning of studying medicine and becoming a doctor has started. After graduating from the high school, I enrolled in the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences. While studying in my first year in the university, I heard that it is possible to study abroad with a 100 percent scholarship. the way to study at the Turkish Medical University opened when I passed the exams to the scholarship. About 20 students went to Izmir and studied language preparation for a year. Then, I studied at Ankara University School of Medicine. At that time, one or two students from every development sector came to study in Turkey. In 2000s, it was not easy to study medicine in a foreign country for the first time. It took a lot of time, effort, perseverance, and dedication to study the language and get to know and adapt to the environment and culture of a foreign country. It was hard then, but when I think about it now, those were years full of fond memories.
As you are familiarized with the Turkish medical science very well, could you please give us information about the health system of the country?
Turkish health care system has three levels which complies with the global health standards. Level-I is household and preventive, and Level II is hospitalization and monitoring. Level III includes universities, training, and research hospitals with more specialized equipment and human resources. In addition, there are many private organizations related to healthcare, hospitals, and universities in Turkey. Private hospitals operate locally and internationally on a wide scale and at a high professional level. Both the government and the private sector pay a lot of attention to and well invest in the health sector. Their healthcare system and medical services are placed among the best in the world.
What is the main factor that placed their health sector as one of the best in the world?
The general structure and development of Turkey’s health sector are very good. It is one of the best countries in the world in terms of technological and specialized human resources. It keeps up with the global trends and uses the latest techniques and technologies regularly in its healthcare services. Also, the educational system and quality at the School of Medicine are very professional. The quality of postgraduate education and professional training are superior. And there are enough doctors in Turkey. There are doctors and specialists with high professional skills and experience in many fields. That is why doctors and health professionals from other countries come to study in Turkey and improve their knowledge and skills. In Turkey, all types of detailed health diagnostics and tests are performed at a very high level. Therefore, citizens do not need to travel to other countries for treatment and diagnosis. To create such an environment, the private sector and the government both invest immensely in research and performance.
What experiences of medical science and healthcare services from Turkey can be introduced to Mongolia? In other words, what can we learn from them?
Every citizen in Turkey is covered by the state health insurance. Insurance includes the diagnosis and treatment of any disease. The insurance system can provide equal health care to everyone. Another important highlight is that everyone’s health claims are registered with their ID card. In this way, the health information of any person is kept on the digital archive. On the other hand, personal information is very well protected. This helps the citizen to avoid any extra expenses and if the person agrees, they can also see a doctor from another location.
What do you think needs to be improved in the Mongolian health sector right away?
It is necessary to have a good healthcare system that is accessible to everybody and to keep and protect the health-related information of the person in chronological order. Second, the length of post-graduate education at the university should be brought up to global standards. Of course, the national and international private healthcare system should be active in Mongolia, and the government should constantly invest in its citizens’ health. It is also important to increase citizens’ knowledge and understanding of health and to provide accessible and highly professional preventive care and services.
Do you work closely with Mongolian healthcare professionals and exchange experiences and opinions?
I am keep in touch with some general practitioners and colleagues working in management positions in the health sector. Every season, doctors and managers organize professional meetings, training, and seminars to study the Turkish and international health systems. During this time, we exchange ideas and experiences about the healthcare systems in Mongolia and Turkey.
It almost takes 10 years to become a doctor in Mongolia. Approximately how long does it take to complete a medical specialty in Turkey?
Turkey’s medical education system is difficult and takes a long time, just like any other countries in the world. Mastering the highly responsible profession requires a lot of work, dedication, expenses, and patience. Every student in medical school devotes all their time to mastering their profession. They just need to love their chosen profession and make it their own. After graduating from the medical university, about 15,000 people take the doctor’s exam twice a year in Turkey. The period of specialized study ranges from four to six years. For example, to become a hematologist, one must undergo four years of study in internal medicine and extra three years in the specialty of hematology.
How difficult is it for Mongolian doctors, especially new graduates, to work in the Turkish hospitals?
I have been in Turkey for 24 years. Time have passed very quickly. Everything must be done on time. Especially for a doctor, time is worth like it is a gold. I have been working at Acibadem hospital since 2011, after becoming a cardiologist. Our hospital is an international organization, located in five countries, with 25 hospitals, 16 medical centers, and one university. It is possible to meet and exchange experiences with world-renowned doctors with high professional skills and experiences in every field of the hospital. In addition, you can participate in short-term, certified training programs to increase your knowledge and skills. Acibadem University is one of the most advanced simulation centers in the world. The University’s School of Medicine is open to students from all over the world. Open to any student with multiple levels of education and high scores on language and science tests. Students can apply for learning by preparing the necessary documents and tests.
Do you have any advices for Mongolian doctors, especially young people studying medicine?
I would like to say that health and medical science is a valuable profession that you cannot help but learn to love. You should study this profession diligently, read constantly, and develop yourself. We live in a century of technology. Therefore, both knowledge and skills must be developed along with the technological development of the era. Every doctor needs to have sufficient knowledge of English. It is strongly advised to read scientific articles and express opinions in English. At the same time, we suggest that you improve your knowledge and skills and, if possible, study for a master’s or doctoral degree. Basic medicine and clinical medicine are not separate things, they should always go hand in hand. Recently, it has been observed that doctors have moved away from medical science. It is worth paying attention to this.