Friday, August 15, 2008


Ulanbataar erupts in celebration of Judo gold

The town went totally mad last night when local Judo star Tuvshinbayar Naidan won Mongolia's first ever gold. I was having dinner at the time and the entire restaurant was cheering him on as he fought his way to victory. For the remainder of the night people moved out onto the streets, and all the traffic blasted their horns in celebration. It was akin to celebrations you see when a country wins the World Cup.

I visited one of the local bars with Leo and we got talking to a selection of various travellers, including a crowd from Spain, a crowd from America and some Swedes. The Europe to Mongolia rally is finishing up this weekend and many of the teams had just arrived.

I walked home through Sukhbataar Square just after midnight. The place was still very much alive with joyous Mongols.

Mongolia win gold

Fireworks go off on Sukhbataar Square as Mongolia win gold

I started the day with a visit to the main hospital in the Chingletei District. It's got 167 beds, but no operating theatre. Originally designed as an office, there are few facilities for patients. On one floor a total of 44 patients share a small 2 closet toilet.

I also visit the Intensive Care Unit. There are two heart monitoring machines to be shared amongst the 7 patients. The Doctor has to prioritise their allocation on the basis of need. The beds were very basic and only one bed had oxygen. The need for equipment was very obvious. Where there is equipment it is often very dated. The X-Ray machine, which is the only one in the entire district, was made in 1968, forty years ago.

I got back to the office for a meeting with the Chair Professor in the Institute of Health Care Administration at Asia university, Professor Chih-Liang Yaung. Professor Yaung is visiting Mongolia with some students and was interested in meeting me to discuss my thoughts to date. We discussed the situation in relation to health insurance payments and the finances of the hospital. From his experience he was firmly of the view that the hospital authority needs to be given more autonomy.

Meeting with Asia university

Professor Yaung, myself, CHDU staff and students from Asia University

Afterwards we went to the Family Group Practice in the 6th District, where we were met by the Practice Manager.

Group Practice, 6th District

The exterior of the Group Practice, 6th District

The Manager gave us a tour of the practice. One of her main concerns is the structure of the building. It's quite dated, as can be seen from the picture above. The building is the primary point of medical attention for 8,000 people but yet there is no water supply coming into the building - it has to be carried in.

I finished the day with a two hour meeting discussing the cash planing and financial management processes for the Health Unit and for the Department of Health in general. It was very worthwhile, in that my overall knowledge of the system is a lot clearer than it was before the meeting.

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