Christian Ferrier
Uvs Province, Mongolia: A nomadic herder holds an MSF first aid kit and leaflet. A pilot project in a remote province in northwest Mongolia has assisted health authorities and the local population prepare for the harsh winter. Last year, the country was hit by a devastating Òdzud,Ó which is a devastating winter that follows a particularly dry summer. Access to healthcare was impossible for large swathes of the population, and infant mortality rates doubled. The government of the impoverished and sparsely-populated country declared a national emergency, and once the snows melted in spring, MSF sent an exploratory team to see what assistance could be offered.
In Between September and November, the team worked in five districts of Uvs province, where some 70 per cent of the population was affected by the dzud. The project pilot involved a range of activities. These included improving infrastructure in five regional health facilities, providing a back-up supply of essential drugs and supplies in provincial and county hospitals, distributing basic first aid kits to 3,000 herder families and giving refresher training and drugs to 16 community-based medical officers.