A hospital in the land of the bactrian camel next to a copper-gold mine

The bactrian camel. Lives in the Gobi desert. Drinks up to 135 liters in 13 minutes, has a thick, shaggy coat. The last truly wild camel, endangered. (Photo Terry Allan, Your Shot)

Khanbogd (King Bogd, the last king who died 1924), Mongolia.
7 minutes documentation* from Jonah M. Kessel.
Article by Kit Gillet, NY Times.
Khanbogd – 522 km from the capital Ulaanbaatar, 92 km to China (Gashuun Sukhait)

About 2000 people in 2002, 7000 in 2012 – plus some 10’000 workers at the mine. About 1700 nomads. 15’000 people by 2020, its a boom area. See also the mongolia desert boom report of ETH Zurich, the digital library.
Other facts: no pave roads, electricity 5,5 hours a day, a single restaurant, one small hospital and plans for a new one.

A fast growing village in the south of Mongolia, Gobi desert. (Photo David Stanway)

Not only the Khanbumbat Airport is driven by the forces of the economic engine – the Oyu Tolgoi (Turquoise Hill Resources – before Ivanhoe Mines Canada) copper-gold mine – this project is dominating the daily life and the future and its one of largest of its kind worldwide.The mine provides some 30% of the mongolian GDP.
airport.jpg mine
Above: The airport and the mine – 45 km from the village

Now to healthcare.
*facts from the documentation; local Khanbogd Soum Hospital, Mrs Narantsetseg Jaalduu, Head Doctor
– From earlier 7 to 10 patients now to 50 to 60 patients a day
– More and more people are being treated with breathing problems; respiratory illnesses caused by dust – increased traffic to the mine and to and from the village intensifies the move of dust

The recent reduction of water supply combined with not much rain could cause a rise of infections. I don’t want to start a discussion about wrong or right here. Its about the observation of a shifting remote landscape. And the need of healthcare. Which applies to a lot of other remote areas on this planet.

Lets dig deeper into the mongolian healthcare and the services in Khanbogd.
Nomadicare. Sas Carey and other American holistic nurses started this project in 1994 when meeting Dr.Bundan Boldsaikhan (Twitter @Boldsaikhan_dr) of the Union of the Union of Traditional Mongolian Medicine at that time – about 80 doctors impacting the health care of 175’000 nomadic herders (Twitter @Nomadicare)
PS. Dr. Boldsaikhan is connected to the actual investments of the Thailand Bumrungrad International into mongolian hospitals – i already blogged about the Bumrungrad Bangkok hospital
– The Mongolian Health System, a 2013 review by the Ministry of Health (@DOHGOVMN), published by WHO

– The transformation of the health system is simply incredible, see the WHO Mongolia report

Khanbogd Soum Hospital
khan old hospital 2013
Facts back then – 2009 statistics
– 9 beds
– Staff: 4 doctors, 4 nurses, 1 laboratory, 8 other
– insufficient equipment, (emergency) medicine
construction site new hospital, scheduled for Dec 2014/2015
Inside old and new hospital – from left ro right

khan3.png khan4

right: Laparoscopy surgery performed by surgeons of WHO CC on Essential Surgical and Emergency Care and State First Clinic with participation of local trainees on training of emergency and surgical care, Intersoum hospital, Khanbogd soum, Umnugobi province, 5 August 2015.

I couldn’t find the facts of the newly opened Khanbogd Inter-soum hospital (primary level). According to the mongolian classification as one of about 40 Inter-soum (rural) hospitals nationwide:
«Average 15-30 beds; provide 24 hour services with doctors (primary care, family medicine specialists or generalists), nurses, midwives, and support staff; cover 2,000-15,000 population. Health promotion and education; preventive care (e.g. immunizations and screening); disease surveillance and epidemiological monitoring; outpatient services including prescriptions; inpatient services including normal delivery; minor surgery; diagnostic tests, home visits; emergency care; public health services; palliative care; rehabilitative care.»

The future by 2020:Galbyn Gobi project (micro-region)
«The population will mainly settle in Khanbogd town and, by 2020, its population will reach 40,000 people…During the projection period, a hospital building with 370 beds with be built. In addition, health centers with various specialization areas as well as out-patient dispensary and family-based practices will be operating.»

I needed hours and hours for this post. As some of the informations are not in roman letters I wasn’t possible to extract all data about Khanbogd. It was worthwile anyway. To have another look at rural healthcare connected to an explosive development because of the mining success. For me: forget growth without having an embedded healthcare hospital strategy.

And don’t forget the bactrian camels. Only with a balanced holistic collaboration there is the chance of a joint path into the future.

All the best to Khanbogd.

Maurice Codourey




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