Taking our mission to another poverty-stricken, isolated location with pressing needs, The Denan Project launched a special medical program for villagers in Tariat, Mongolia, and neighboring areas in December 2011. Tariat sits at about 6,700 feet and is located in the second coldest part of Mongolia, about 670 kilometers from the capital of the country, Ulaanbaator. In winter, temperatures often go below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Building on our initial success in health care, we have moved into both agriculture and education projects and are working to improve the overall quality of life in the region.
Medical Projects in Tariat
When we arrived in 2011, the hospital in Tariat was in a horrible state of disrepair. Built by Soviets in the 1960s, the hospital contained equipment that dated back to that period and was mostly nonfunctioning. At the time, there was only one patient in the hospital, since by the end of each quarter there was no money left to buy medicines or lab supplies. Even more starkly, the hospital had no funds for heat, and young patients often died from the cold from within the hospital.
In 2014, the Mongolian government built a new hospital in Tariat, and we worked with the local Ministry of Health to help it properly serve the desperately poor people of the region year-round. In addition to providing advanced training to doctors in cardiology, pediatrics, and internal medicine, we have also furnished advanced diagnostic and surgical equipment, sufficient medicines, lab supplies, needles, bandages, a new ambulance, and, critically, funds for heat, year-round. Seven children, weakened by illness, died in the hospital from lack of heat in the year before The Denan Project arrived. Since our involvement, not one child has died there because of the cold. Tuition costs have been provided to doctors who will work in health posts in small towns run by the hospital, and tuition costs for a dental student are also being paid. The student will come to work in the hospital next year upon graduation.
The hospital currently treats approximately 30,000 patients annually, and the number of patients continues to increase each year, since the hospital is still the only one in the area. Since our involvement, the rate of children’s acute respiratory infections has been reduced by 61% – from 193 cases in 2013 to 74 in 2014. This is in addition to a substantial decline in the rate of infant and child mortality.
Education Projects in Tariat
The population of this remote area has little to no knowledge of basic health practices such as the dangers of smoking or the necessity of washing one’s hands after handling animals or going to the bathroom. The Denan Project has paid for the publishing of simple health brochures that are handed out during regular visits by our medical outreach team to distant groups of herder families. Our team gives medical checkups during these visits; for many people these checkups are the first they have ever received.
The Denan Project also helped form a health club in the high school. Now, every week, medical professionals provide older students with health information. These uniformed health-club members then go into the lower grades and pass on what they have learned to younger students. As is common everywhere, younger kids often look up to older kids and listen more carefully to what they say. The hope is that these students will also pass on what they have learned to their parents.
Agriculture Projects in Mongolia
At the special request of the provincial Governor in 2014, we funded a program to plant fodder for the animals in the area. Until now, the herder families either had to go live where there was sufficient supply, or travel to those areas to purchase fodder at inflated prices. The planted fodder is in a large, fenced-in field covering approximately 45 acres and has already benefited between 500 and 600 families.
Our Partners in Mongolia
Save the Children Japan-Mongolia
The Denan Project’s partner for its Tariat program is Save the Children Japan-Mongolia. This is the first time that Save The Children has participated in a program of this kind anywhere in the world. It makes quarterly visits to the remote site in Tariat and compiles monthly reports. It also monitors the functions of the hospital and arranges, on a timely basis, for the purchase and delivery of medical supplies and fuel for heat.
The Arkhangai Provincial Health Department
The local provincial health department provides guidance and cooperation for The Denan Project’s program for the Tariat Hospital.
Facts & Figures
The hospital serves about 30,000 people per year
Children’s acute respiratory infections have been reduced by 61% since our involvement
Infant and child mortality rates reduced by more than 150%
Advanced training provided to doctors including an Internist, Pediatrician, and Cardiologist
State of the art medical equipment provided
Medical education outreach targets distant herder families
Provided tuition for doctor and dentist enabling them to get their degrees