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.
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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.