Project to strengthen COVID-19 preparedness launches

2020-10-01 17:51:26

The launch of the “Building the Capacity for COVID-19 Diagnosis and Service Delivery for the Most Vulnerable in Mongolia amidst the Pandemic” project was held today. The representatives from donors, partners, and implementing organizations including Daniel Worrall, the CEO and Country Manager of Rio Tinto Mongolia LLC and Armando Torres, the CEO of Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Tapan Mishra, the UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia and Kaori Ishikawa, the Head of Office of UNFPA Mongolia Country Office attended the launch event.

This is the first partnership between UNFPA, UN and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto’s Country Office in Mongolia and Oyu Tolgoi LLC have granted 602,000 USD which equals to 1.7 billion MNT to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for enhancing the capacity of health sector with a focus on COVID-19 preparedness and recovery in Mongolia. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNFPA Mongolia is going to utilize this fund for strengthening the country’s diagnostic capacity by building a total of four PCR laboratories in Dornogobi, Umnugobi provinces and in Ulaanbaatar, and ensuring the continuity of vital health services for persons requiring regular medical checkups by developing telemedicine services at the primary health care units.

Amarjargal Khenchbish, the Deputy Country Director for Rio Tinto Mongolia, said, “At Rio Tinto, our focus is on the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we operate and on keeping our operations running safely during the times of pandemic, so we can continue to contribute to local and national economies and serve our customers.”

Each four target hospitals including the General Hospital of Zamiin Uud soum in Dornogobi province, the Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center of Umnugobi province, the National Center for Material and Child Health, the Ulaanbaatar City Maternal and Children’s Hospital will be equipped with PCR-based molecular diagnostic laboratories. With the PCR laboratories, the hospitals will be able to quickly diagnose not only COVID-19 but also various infectious diseases including influenza, antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections, as well as new and re-emerging infections at soum and provincial level, and in Ulaanbaatar.

 “The continuity of essential health services is crucial at all times, especially during the health emergency like the one we are currently experiencing” noted Kaori Ishikawa, the Head of Office at the UNFPA Country Office in Mongolia at the launch. She also highlighted that “Based on UNFPA’s past experience, the telemedicine service that will be developed. It will ensure that people who require medical checkups such as pregnant women, older persons and people with disabilities receive the services they need in the comfort of their homes or at the primary health care units. It will prevent them from contracting the virus while visiting hospitals in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak in the community level and ensures that there’s no disruption in the health care services”. As part of the project, the primary health care providers will be supplied with the health provider kits and software that’s used for delivering telemedicine services. They will also be trained on communicating and receiving professional guidance with medical specialists about patients’ condition via information and telecommunication technologies.

The implementation of the project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

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