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GFMER Country Coordinators

Oyunaa Lkhagvasuren

GFMER Coordinator for Mongolia

Oyunaa Lkhagvasuren
Dr. Oyunaa Lkhagvasuren (aka Health Promotion Oyun)
President, Leading Researchers, NGO
Email: l.oyun@leadingresearchers.mn / l_oyun2002@yahoo.com

Dr. Oyunaa is well known public health professional in Mongolia and her nickname is Health promotion Oyun because she was one of the first specialist in health promotion and has been working in this area since 1997.

Dr. Oyunaa has a medical degree and studied medicine in Irkutsk Medical University and in the Mongolian Medical Science University in 1986 – 1995. Upon graduation her bachelor degree in medicine she was hired to work as a health education at the National Center for Health Education and Training, which later joined the Health Management and Information Center and became the Department of Health – Government Implementing Agency in 2006. All these years, she has been working with this organization as an officer in charge for foreign relation, health promotion and in 2006 till 2011, she served as Director of Health promotion division at the DOH.

During her professional career Dr. Oyunaa completed her Master degree in Public Health at the State University of New York in Albany, NY, USA and also received Master degree in Education, with specialization in Human Sexuality, and Advanced Graduate Studies Diploma from the Widener University, PA, USA.

Although she specializes in broader issues of analysis of health policies, assistance in development of national public health programs, and implementation and management of health promotion and behavior change projects/programs, she is highly interested in working in area of human sexuality.

Dr. Oyunaa is the only national specialist in human sexuality who has received an academic education in this field, she has been active promoter of sexual and reproductive health rights, and has organized and delivered many international and national training, seminars and workshops on human sexuality education.

In 2010, she was elected as President Mongolian Family Welfare Association, a full member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and in following year she was elected to a Governing Council of IPPF.

Presentations and publications

  • D. Baigalmaa & L. Oyun. (1998). Health promoting school’s guidelines. Eryyl Enkh Publishing House, Ulaanbaatar.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2001, Winter). Sexuality in Mongolia. Scholar Forum, The Journal of the Open Society Institute’s Network Scholarship Programs, No 4, p 6.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2002, May). Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Mongolia. Paper presented at the  Engendering Sexual and Reproductive Health Education: The Experience of UNFPA in Mongolia, the workshop ofthe UNFPA in collaboration with the Population Council, New York, USA.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2002, May). Adolescents at the Crossroads: Learning about health and rights. Paper presented during the Special Session of UN on Children issues, New York, USA.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2004, May). Incorporating Gender into Sexuality Education in Mongolia. Presentation at the conference “Youth Reproductive Health in a Controversial Climate: Reclaiming Strategies that Work,” organized by The Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, UCLA’s Bixby Program in Population and Reproductive Health, and Women Supporting Youth and Each Other, Los Angeles, USA.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin, et.al (2005). Manual for Non-clinical training module. Asian DevelopmentBank, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L. & et (2005). Qualitative study on Male Involvement in Reproductive health. UNFPA, JOICFP. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L. & et (2006). Pre-testing of the Teacher Training Manual on “Reducing HIV and AIDS Vulnerability among Students in the School Setting” UNESCO Bangkok, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L & et (2006). Assessment and Recommendations - Towards a Comprehensive Education Sector Response to HIV and AIDS in Mongolia. UNESCO Beijing, UNESCO Mongolia., Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasuren, (2006, June). Male involvement in reproductive health… Guest presentation at the National Seminar on “Male involvement in reproductive health & HIV/AIDS”, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2006, June). Sexual Health in Mongolia, available at http://loveandhealth.ifriends.net/
  • Oyun L & et (2006). Sexuality education textbooks for parents, teenagers and decision-makers. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasurengiin. (2007, January). HIV situation in Mongolia, available at http://loveandhealth.ifriends.net/
  • Oyun Lkhagvasuren (2007, January). Crossroads of HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Keynote speaker at the National meeting on “Human Rights and HIV/AIDS in Mongolia”, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun.L & et. (2007). Answering adolescents questions on sexuality. Nemo publishing  house, Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia.
  • Oyun Lkhagvasuren. (2007. November). Mongolia’s Evidence Based Health Policy: Achievements and Obstacles’. Presentation a t the 39th APACPH conference “Lifestyle-related Diseases prevention: The Challenge for Nutrition and Public Health”.
  • Oyun L., U. Enkhmaa (2007) An assessment repot on pilot project implementation of social marketing strategy on information, education and communication in safe motherhood. ADB, NCHD. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L. & et (2008). Prevention from HIV/AIDS and Human trafficking. Peer educators manual. ADB, MOH., Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L. (2008). How to talk to your children about sexuality. Parents guidebook. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyun L. & et .(2009). “STI/HIV/AIDS prevention” Life-skilled based training curriculum. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. ISBN 999299657-9.
  • Oyun L. & et. (2009). “STI/HIV/AIDS peer educators” training manual. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. ISBN 999299658-7.
  • Oyun L. (2009) “Mongolian health status: call for national response”. Presentation at the American Center for Mongolian Studies, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Oyunaa L.(2010). “From health education to health promotion foundation”. Presentation at the 20th World Conference on Health promotion, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Oyunaa L. &et. (2011). Assessment report on capacity of NGOs in Mongolia. Requested by Mongolian Association of Public Health Professionals, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
  • Oyunaa L. (2011). “Importance of behaviour change theories in behaviour change interventions” keynote presenter, First national conference on Non communicable diseases and injury prevention and control, Ulaanbaatar, September 8-9, 2011.
  • J. Shyder, L. Oyun &et. (2011). An Equity Tool for Health Impact Assessments: Reflections from Mongolia, Environmental Impact Assessment Review Journal, reference N EIR5744, August, 2011.

Country situation of sexual reproductive health

In Mongolia, as in many Asian countries, there is an unspoken rule that people do not talk openly about sexuality. There are, however, many reasons why issues of sexual health are particularly important in the current situation – the threat of HIV & AIDS, changes in sexual behavior as a result of migration and urbanization, increasing tourism and the impact of global media. In spite of the taboo on discussing sexuality, among men it remains one of the most popular topics of everyday conversation, besides politics and finance. This taboo has created many misconceptions and much misinformation about sexual and reproductive health, resulting in a mixture of negative and positive attitudes towards this subject which affects individual behavior.

In Mongolia, as elsewhere, male attitudes and behavior are a key aspect in the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, but they have not until recently been examined in detail. Thus, a study was conducted in 2006 among over 800 male residents of two khoroos (a khoroo is the smallest administrative unit of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia) and it provided interesting insights on this subject.

It emerged that the majority of the study participants have somewhat sufficient knowledge of reproductive and sexual health, but only about certain aspects. For example, more than 90% of men knew of some method of pregnancy prevention and supported family planning. The best known methods were birth control pills, intra uterine devices (IUD) and condoms. However, they had very little knowledge about vasectomy and withdrawal – methods that require active involvement from men. Although condom use was mentioned as a method to prevent not only unwanted pregnancy but also sexually transmitted infections, most of the respondents shared a misconception common among men around the world, namely that condom use reduces sexual pleasure. Thus, only 20.2% of the male respondents indicated that they use a condom. One of the conclusions that we can draw from these data is that Mongolian men may have knowledge about family planning methods and have a positive attitude toward it, but when it comes to practice, they take little initiative themselves, preferring women to take responsibility for contraception and protection.

According to the study data, three out of four males were familiar with the most common symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness and loss of appetite. However, it was surprising to find that almost half of the men included in the sample did not know that menstruation stops during pregnancy. It was encouraging to learn, on the one hand, that almost all married men in the study reported an understanding of why pregnant women require prenatal care, and yet discouraging, on the other hand, to discover that half of the men did not know why pregnant women use an iron supplement during their pregnancy. Again, about 90% of men in the study mentioned that they support safe motherhood and are eager, as men, to provide financial, physical, and some emotional support for their wives/partners during their pregnancy; however, it was interesting to learn that in practice men would play a passive role by just following their wives to the clinic rather being actively involved in ensuring proper care. As some men pointed out, "It’s women who carry babies, so they should be the ones to take care of their health." This comment is highly revealing of male attitudes to responsibility in matters of reproductive health. When asked what topics of reproductive and sexual health men would like to receive more knowledge and information on, a majority of them highlighted family planning and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as issues specific to men (such as prostate cancer, sexual dysfunction, etc.).

This study taught one key lesson: the importance of developing sexual and reproductive health services that will address men’s needs. These services must include provision of comprehensive sexuality education and must be of high quality, delivered by well-trained medical personnel capable of dealing specifically with male clients/patients.

The sample study described here shows that men have only limited knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, but are eager to learn more. It seems that little support has been provided to improve their knowledge or to encourage them to take an active role in this field. There is a need to utilize a comprehensive approach to men’s needs and concerns in order to ensure their successful participation in promoting sexual and reproductive health for themselves, their wives/partners and their families.

GFMER past activities in the country

There are Mongolians who attended GFMER training in 2009 and I did attend the online course in 2010. Organizing this training for 2012 is going to be our first joint activity with GFMER.

Future plans or initiatives

The “Leading Researchers” NGO is planning to be a main country partner working with GFMER in organization and delivery various training, workshops and seminars in sexual and reproductive health. The NGO has an ambitious goal to organize an international conference/meeting on promotion of sexual and reproductive health in Mongolia.

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