Monday, April 7, 2014

Mongolia Brief April 4, Part III

The Parliament’s regular meeting
April 6 (UB Post) The President and the Prime Minister issue grants to successful students

The Parliament passed an ordinance for a grant developed by the President and Prime Minister and its application requirements at the regular meeting. This grant is dedicated to the best students who are successful role models to others. The Parliament made L. Gantumur, Minister of Education and Science responsible for supervising the ordinance’s implementation. The grant’s goal is to support and improve student’s skills, talent, knowledge, volunteer work, new ideas and creativity. Graduate students of internal higher educational institutes and organizations, and students of colleges, professional study and training centers can apply for this grant. There are distinctive, specific indicators between the students.
The President’s grant will provide 1,200,000 MNT to 30 students, and the Prime Minister’s grant will provide 1,000,000 MNT to up to 40 students. Both grants will be issued to a new group of students twice a year.
According to the ordinance, the Parliament has shortened the steps for application and selection. The student unions of each school will be responsible for delivering the applications of their students to the President’s department and the Parliament’s secretariat.
Project financing determined
N.Batbayar, Minister of Economic Development, was instructed to secure infrastructure project financing. The projects include Songino substation, Ikh Toirog electric power transmitting air route, MBA substation, electric power transmitting air route and substation project of Bayangol micro-district. Currently, construction assembly work for these projects is at 60-70 percent. The government hopes that with the implementation of these projects, Ulaanbaatar will be supplied with reliable electric sources, air pollution will decline, and over 50 thousand household heating systems will be enabled.

City residents called to join morning exercises at National Garden Park
April 6 (UB Post) The National Garden Park and Tuya Yoga Center have launched their one-month “Healthy Environment-Active Exercises” campaign on Saturday.
The organizing officials hope to improve the health of city residents, let them exercise more and lead them to healthy and enjoyable lives with more outdoor sports activities.
The campaign will regularly organize 9 a.m. morning exercises at the National Garden Park every weekend throughout April.
The park offers 2.5 kilometers of cycling and running trails for city residents and 100,000 trees and bushes representing 22 different species are grown in the park.
The garden is open to anyone wanting to take part in the morning exercises under the guidance of professional yoga center trainers.
The trainers have highlighted that the morning exercises will help residents tackle stress, stabilize mood swings, energize their lifestyle, improve blood circulation and lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise also reduces headaches, recovers immunity and fights aging, reported the trainers.

B.Bolormaa: Instead of paying attention to District doctors, the ministry only thinks about higher level hospitals
April 6 (UB Post) Aside from the National Center for Maternal and Children’s Health (NCMCH) and District Children’s Hospitals, there’s hardly any hospital giving care to infants and children in Mongolia.
Since the Health Science University ceased doctor preparing classes in 1996, Mongolia is now limited in personnel for state children’s doctors.
Unlike adults, children are unable to state where and what is hurting. Becoming a children’s doctor is not a profession for everybody. One of the few doctors of this profession who graduated from the Children’s Faculty of the Medical Science University is B.Bolormaa. Throughout her career, she has built a reputation for protecting children’s health and giving her best effort in fulfilling her responsibilities.
She’s currently working as a doctor at Emuujin Children’s Hospital of the Bayangol Health Unit. This hospital is the sole children’s department of the District’s Health Unit. To learn more about the state of child health care in Mongolia, we spoke to B.Bolormaa, a Golden Stethoscope Medal recipient.
Have you done any other work besides your current profession?
Since 1990, I have worked in my profession nonstop for 24 years. From 1982 to 1984, I worked as an obstetrician in Bulgan Province. In the last 13 years, I worked as a children’s doctor at the Children’s Department of the United Hospital of Sukhbaatar District. Two years before transferring to Bayangol Province, I worked as an ICU doctor. People recommended that I work in the Children’s Hospital of Bayangol District. Our hospital began operating in June 1, 2013. Including the Head of the Department, there are five children’s doctors and around 20 staff in total. Since the workload is heavy for few doctors, I took dual responsibility of the ICU and Emergency Room.
Bayangol District doesn’t have a children’s hospital and children are examined in different district hospitals or private hospitals. Not many are familiar with your hospital. You don’t have the manpower to receive all the children of the district?
We have 35 quarters. Since the establishment, for around ten months, we have been accepting children of 7th, 8th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd khoroos of seven districts. This was due to their low capacity. Children aged from zero to 18 that are suffering from aggravated illnesses of respiratory or digestive systems are hospitalized here. Children in need of surgery or special health examinations are sent to level 3 hospitals. In times with little workload, we try to accept as many children as possible. Before 2014, we hospitalized and treated 590 children, after 2014, around 500 children came here. In the ICU department, we treat two to three children daily, during high-load days, five children and in a month, around 20 to 30 children are treated here.
In the last 23 years, there weren’t any children’s hospital established. Not just at a state level but also for Bayangol District, this hospital plays an important role for children’s health as there isn’t any for this district before. There used to be costly burdens when children of Bayangol District had to go to the NCMCH, Yarmag Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Songinokhairkhan District or private hospitals.
This hospital used to be a private house. The Minister of Justice Kh.temuulen fixed it for hospital purposes.
-Have you examined adults? It must be much easier than examining children?
-Children aren’t smaller versions of adults. Their body structures are completely different. Compared to adults, all of their organ systems aren’t completely developed and it’s hard to communicate. They cry for no reason and get fever for unknown reasons. Unless the mother defines these symptoms or pain, it’s difficult to know. In my opinion, it’s easier to examine children than adults. When adults come in pain, I can only think of giving them first aid. I instinctively know how children are feeling just by looking at them as I’ve worked with infants since my student days.
Apart from seasonal diseases, what kinds of illnesses do children get mostly?
Common diseases include aggravated illnesses of respiratory and digestive systems. In connection to this, children’s respiratory and immunity system are not completely developed, cold and flu are dominant in the winter and digestive system illnesses in the summer. Middle schoolers are hardly hospitalized, mainly children aged from zero to five. Apart from seasonal diseases, recently, swelling and chronic inflammation of the anterior tonsillar pillar became common for children. This is due to not providing health care for children to grow healthily. In other words, it’s connected to tooth decay and dental cavity. In recent years, young mothers are packing readymade products for their children’s lunch which is absolutely incorrect. During our days, mothers packed homemade lunches, different depending on each day and month and we had healthy shining teeth. Chronic inflammation of the anterior tonsillar pillar is a dangerous illness that may harm joints, the heart and kidneys. If your child has had a sore throat, rest them in bed until their fever has cooled down and treat them for 10 to 14 days with additional treatment for immune system. In Mongolia, mothers stop giving treatment or attention to their child after two to three days. This doesn’t completely heal, instead, it does the opposite and aggravates it. Disease sets in children aged from zero to five, that’s when they are to be treated for 14 days. This way it’ll cure completely. If children keep on getting ill when their immune system is getting better, it means that they have incorrect eating habits.
There are significantly fewer children’s doctors in Mongolia. Young doctors get depressed and reject their profession as the workload is heavy and has low salary. What is needed to increase interest in this field?
It was good when there was the Children’s Faculty in the Medical Science University. From the beginning, they made students love this profession and prepared them well. This class was ceased in 1996 and students wanting to become children’s doctor had to only study medicine for four years then attend a postgraduate training for two years. It’s very difficult to become a children’s doctor. It requires expertise in all areas. It’s a given that uneducated young people who haven’t learned to work in pressure get depressed. Most importantly, the workload is heavy. When doctors of other departments have high salaries, the ministry of the sector and related organizations have neglected us. Due to this, it wouldn’t be surprising for young doctors working in this profession for a short period to evade it. People who have worked all their life in hospitals are capable of enduring this. We had interns working in the United Hospital of Sukhbaatar District as well as here. After a month or two, they would get depressed and say that they want to quit. It’s a given. District hospitals have too much workload. The ministry only thinks about higher level hospitals instead of paying attention to the lack of district doctors. We attend training courses after being begged and pleaded. Only those who have basic education, love the profession and can dedicate themselves to become children’s doctors.
Lately, the NCMCH have been training children’s doctors. Before this, this field was abandoned.
In your opinion, how satisfactory are the skill and knowledge of Mongolian children’s doctors?
There are many capable doctors who have worked for many years, mainly in the children’s department. Their skills are exceptional. Out of five doctors working in our hospital, three have degrees, one is young and the other is an experienced doctor who studied and worked in the USA for many years. It’s a different case for doctors who’ve just graduated.
Diseases that mainly affect adults are affecting younger people. Why do you think this is?
These diseases are tuberculosis and diabetes. They occur to those who got these illnesses when they were young. It’s important that children are raised up healthily. They say that they have base diseases, rickets and intracranial pressure. However, their parents don’t even know what sorts of diseases they are.
From many years of experience, I’ve noticed that children from ger districts getting rickets are comparatively low. They are always getting out and communicate well with nature. Mostly children who live in apartments are hospitalized. Rickets is a condition that affects bone development due to deficiency of vitamin D. It’s common for children with rickets to have bad memory, small build, bad digestive system and frequent joint pain. Instead of saying your child has rickets or intracranial pressure, mothers need to get at least some medical knowledge.
There are criticisms that many doctors have started running private hospitals in recent years and have started treating public work indifferently. What’s your though on this matter?
Doctors can’t last for long in a situation where they’ve worked for many years with insufficient wages. We cannot blame those who’ve opened private hospitals due to this reason. It doesn’t mean that we can’t accomplish our private work without neglecting other jobs. If they are indifferent, then it’s a violation of doctor’s morals.
When will the Children’s Hospital of Bayangol District start receiving all the children of the district?
Starting next year, expansions will be made. The proposal to increase 35 quarters into 135 to 150 quarters was supported by the state. By 2015, we will have a big children’s hospital and start receiving children of Bayangol District. Although we have little capacity, we are equipped with all necessary equipment for emergency services, ICU and hospitalizing. In ICU rooms, all beds have monitors, respirators and IV fluid therapy equipment. All emergency room equipment meets the standards. Other district hospitals do not have modern equipment like ours. We have equipment from Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Foreign Language Festival stages Macbeth in English
April 6 (UB Post) The 13th Foreign Language Festival was organized by the Foreign Language Center of the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture on April 5 at the Student Theater of the university.
Seven schools of the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture competed with a play by William Shakespeare. The plays were performed in English.
The event aims to increase English language knowledge of students and let them spend free time efficiently.
Students from the School of Media and Broadcasting, School of Cultural Education, School of State Screen Arts, School of Culture and Civilization, School of Music and Arts, School of Dance and School of Fine Arts performed their rendition of “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare.
Last year, student showcased their rendition of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare.
One of the special things about the drama competition is that students don’t have to be majoring in performing arts to compete.
“Macbeth” has five acts which was shared by all seven schools.
Although the students didn’t study English professionally, the plays were executed well. The costumes and stage designs were accurately presented despite their limited endowments.
The events were judged by judges from the UK Embassy, Mongolian State Academic Drama Theater, British School in Ulaanbaatar, Educational Advising and Resource Center.
Judges selected first and second places, and the best actor and actress of the competition.
The first place went to the School of Culture and Civilization. The award was followed by a 500,000 MNT cash prize. The School of Media and Broadcastin won second place.
Enkhtsolmon from the School of Culture and Civilization was named as the best actor, and Oyuntuya from School of Media and Broadcaster was named as the best actress.
They were awarded a right to watch seven plays at the Mongolia State Academic Drama Theater, which will be staged from April 9.
In his closing speech, Director of the School of Culture and Civilization Ph.D. G.Sukhbat said, “The English language proficiency of Mongolian students is improving day by day. They now have the ability to stage classical plays in foreign language.”

Productivity is the way out
April 6 (UB Post) In 2013, Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 11.3 percent to reach 17 trillion MNT. However, the average income of Mongolians did not increase significantly because the cost of living rose 10.3 percent in the same year. It allowed the purchasing power of people to increase by only one percent. Furthermore, our economy, which receives 88 percent of its total consumer goods through imports, suffered a huge blow when the tugrug rate declined by 30 percent.
During the recently held Mongolia Economic Forum, our Prime Minister said, “The reason why our economic growth has not shown great benefits is associated with our low level of productivity.” He also said, “If Mongolia had produced competitive products and been able to largely meet its domestic demands, we would not have faced such a situation today.” Then, what should we do in order to boost our productivity?
The main reason behind low productivity today is that it is possible for anyone to work and live in Mongolia without having to truly master whatever job he or she might do. Also, people do not realize that they could have a good life by working hard and putting their best efforts into what they do. There is not yet any kind of social pressure that requires people to be hard-working to live their life. Mongolians are not able to increase their income and create an accumulation of wealth due to a lack of diligence, professional knowledge, and skills. Furthermore, the blame should be shared by companies that are not paying their employees. Parts of our workforce, especially those who do hard labor, are not being paid and are losing their faith without knowing what action to take next.
Mongolians have become used to laziness, excessive spending, and a habit of consuming more than we create. You can see expensive imported luxury cars on the streets of Ulaanbaatar. It shows that luxury consumption per capita has become very high in our country. Nevertheless, most of our population has no savings and are using up all their salary by the time their next salary comes in. For those reasons, there is no middle class being formed in our society. The minority who has become wealthy are shifting to luxury as soon as they earn just enough money to do so. It makes it difficult for the nation to create capital accumulation.
Being unable to accumulate capital domestically, we have spent many years conducting policy to attract foreign investment into our country. However, we’ve chased investors away in the last few years. The government is now attempting to acquire huge foreign loans in order to keep the economy functioning and build required infrastructure.
We already know that in order to make our economy productive, Mongolians have to produce goods and services that can be competitive on the international market. But it does not mean that we are going to produce everything that we are currently importing. Our advantage lies in not only natural resources, but also prospecting and mineral extraction, meat, milk, wool, cashmere, and other animal products, raw materials, tourism, and, eventually, financial services. In order to improve our productivity, we need to produce internationally accepted, high quality goods and services and supply them to the markets in our two neighboring countries.
To achieve this goal, we will clearly need a considerable amount of investment. Such investment must be created, saved, and accumulated by us. When it comes to wealth creation, similar principles apply to a nation and an individual.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, wrote in his book “The Way to Wealth” (1758), that an individual must follow three principles in order to become wealthy. His three principles are: to create, save, and spend wisely. Creating means having a profession and a job, and working hard and productively. Saving means being prudent and economical.
Spending wisely means working smart, knowing what to spend your money on, and acquiring knowledge and education.
If Mongolians implement these exact principles at a national level, we can create accumulation and be able to make investments. The investments would help us build infrastructure, expand our businesses, and improve our livelihoods. Economic growth requires stable government policy, a competitive business environment, and capable business management.
In order to have increased investment, the government, along with the private sector and individuals, should reduce their luxury goods consumption, accumulate capital, and save their money in banks so that they can use it to provide loans. Besides boosting foreign investment, we should pursue such policy. The government should look at domestic capital accumulation and support investment before trying to acquire foreign loans.
It is time for the government to increase the taxes imposed on luxury consumption, replace old vehicles that do not save and conserve energy, and show exemplary initiatives to the public by being modest in their own expenditure. We should learn to save money and engrain such culture in our mindset.
In order to increase productivity and create competitiveness, many companies need to be competing in a given industry and become able to meet domestic demands before entering the international market. During this process, the required infrastructure, both hard and soft, is created along with reliable human, material, and financial resources. Improving our productivity is the only way for Mongolia to develop its economy and improve the livelihood of people.
Translated by B.AMAR
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