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August 2011 

Hello from the FIRE team in Flagstaff and Mongolia.  We have been busy keeping up with our quickly growing programs. The past few months have been an exciting time for FIRE as we develop more partnerships and progress further with our work. 

Please read below for a brief update on some of what we have been up to and how you can help.  We currently have a matching contribution opportunity and are seeking a board member nomination.

Thank you for helping us to support Mongolia.  Please contact us any time!  Have a wonderful fall!!

All the best,
Meredith Potts
Executive Director

Hepatitis In Mongolia
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Mongolia has the highest rate of liver cancer in the world, due in large part, to the high rates of hepatitis.  Mongolia also has the 3rd highest rate of hepatitis B and C, despite a successful infant vaccination program supported by GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization).  Health care facilities are a leading form of transmission for hepatitis. With less than 7% of health care workers vaccinated for hepatitis B, high-risk health care workers (surgeons, injection nurses, OBGYN's, etc.) have an estimated infection rate of 60%. Cholibaslan  The high infection rate of health care workers and the end of the GAVI supported infant vaccination program in 2013, makes hepatitis one of the biggest public health concerns in Mongolia.  FIRE is working with partners at all levels - local, national and international - to combat the hepatitis issue.

A Personal Look
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A high number of Mongolians have a liver related disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis or cancer.  Almost everyone in Mongolia knows or is related to someone who has suffered or is suffering from a liver related disease.  This includes FIRE's medical director, Munkhjargal.  This is her story;


"It has been almost 10 years since I last saw my mother because of cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C virus. She did not know she had hepatitis C until it was too late to be treated. It is very sad that many of us in Mongolia have lost one of our loved ones because of cirrhosis and hepatitis B and C. After I lost my mother I said to myself 'I will start helping people with Hepatitis'. Six months ago, my father was diagnosed with cirrhosis caused by hepatitis C.  He is now in critical condition with cirrhosis related complications.  Even though I am a medical doctor, I was not able to diagnose my parents' hepatitis at its early stages and stop the silent, imminent death.  


I joined FIRE in December 2010.  I am here because I do not want anyone to suffer from hepatitis. Every little donation will help us prevent hepatitis. Even a single safety box (bio-hazard box for sharp medical waste) will prevent the contraction of blood borne infections, including Hepatitis." 

What FIRE Is Doing To Help
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HEPATITIS TESTING PROGRAM- In cooperation with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mongolian Academy of Medical Studies (MAMS), FIRE has initiated an effort to study the prevalence of blood borne viruses among high-risk health care workers through 1000 collected blood samples. The results will provide a better understanding into transmittable infections (i.e., is there a genetic predisposition toward contracting hepatitis, or against being able to clear it?).  It will provide authorities with a basis from which to form health policies and develop strategies for increasing awareness, prevention, detection and treatment of health care workers.  To date 145 samples have been sent to NIH with another 855 currently in the collection process.  More information 


VACCINATION PROGRAM- In conjunction with the NIH blood sample project, FIRE has begun supplying hepatitis B vaccine for health care workers who test negative.  We are in the process of supplying vaccine for 2 province hospitals.  


SAFETY BOX DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM - A number of Rotary Clubs in Mongolia and the U.S. collaborate to purchase locally made safety boxes (bio-hazard boxes for sharp medical waste), meeting WHO (World Health Organization) design specifications. FIRE helps distribute the boxes. To date 47,000 safety boxes have been distributed to more 67 health care facilities throughout 3 provinces. That is enough for a two-year supply for every hospital and health care clinic in these three provinces. Plans have been made to complete 3 more provinces this year. More information  


TRAINING PROGRAM - In conjunction with the safety box distribution program, FIRE provides important training to health care workers, waste handlers and inspection agents about the proper use of safety boxes and safe disposal of sharps waste nationwide.  The objective is to substantially reduce the number of inadvertent needle sticks and lacerations with contaminated needles or other medical sharps waste. We are currently turning this training into a one-hour training video to be distributed nationally by the end of 2011.   

What YOU Can Do To Help
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A donor has offered to make a $3,000 donation, if we raise a matching amount of $3,000. We have until SEPTEMBER 9, to raise $3,000.  Consider the difference your support can make in the lives of others;


$50 - Friend - (naiz)

Hepatitis B testing for 3 Mongolians


$100 -  Supporter - (demjigch)

Four month supply of sharps containers (bio-hazard boxes for sharp medical waste) for one rural clinic


$250 - Donor - (handivlagch)

One orthopedic implant to repair a broken leg and prevent permanent disability


$500 - Patron - (iveen tetgegch)

Participation in diabetes lifestyle intervention program for 50 Mongolians


$1000 - Benefactor - (buyanii uilsten)

Lifesaving Hepatitis B vaccination for 50 Mongolians


Please also consider alternative forms of donating such as credit card reward points, stocks or frequent flier award tickets.  


PLEASE make a donation to FIRE, by SEPTEMBER 9, to insure we receive a matching $3,000 contribution. Your donation, no matter the amount, $10, $20, $50, will be doubled!    


You can donate directly on-line here. Checks may also be mailed to PO Box 22187  / Flagstaff, AZ / 86002.  


Thank you very much for your continued support and quick attention!

Recent Events
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On July 29, Meredith Potts, FIRE executive director, gave a talk to the Super Nerd group of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Human Immunology Inflammation.  The request from Super Nerd came in support of the research project FIRE is doing in cooperation with NIH. Several influential scientists at NIH attended the lecture about FIRE and the public health situation in Mongolia. It was an honor for FIRE to be invited.



FIRE joined the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), a global organization providing support to halt deaths and improve lives of people living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C round the world.  In support of WHA's World Hepatitis Day on July 28, FIRE participated by providing 80 minutes of TV programming on STAR TV and Education TV to educate the public about hepatitis. FIRE's medical director gave a newspaper interview entitled "Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV".

Issue: 4
In This Issue
Hepatitis Programs
Matching Donation
FIRE Events
Join Our Mailing List
Volunteers Needed!
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We are looking for volunteers!  Committing your time is an invaluable use of your efforts.  We could not do this without you. Become a volunteer and help make FIRE's efforts a success. Contact us today to learn more!

For other ways to support FIRE, please visit our how you can help web page.
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Donate NOW!Green stripe  
 WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to reach $3,000 by September 7!!

PLEASE make a donation to FIRE by SEPTEMBER 9, to insure we receive a matching $3,000 contribution. Your donation, no matter the amount, $10, $20, $50, will be doubled!

You can donate directly on-line  here.
Checks may also be mailed to PO Box 22187  / Flagstaff, AZ / 86002.

Thank you very much for your continued support!
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FIRE - Flagstaff International Relief Effort / / 928-779-2288