Limited by a lack of resources, funding and training, emergency management in Mongolia is faced with a series of challenges recognised by policy makers and medical leaders including the Mongolian Society for Emergency Medicine.

A delegation of four senior medical officials from the Mongolian Society of Emergency Medicine visited Griffith University’s Nathan campus last week to discuss training opportunities to enhance the country’s capacity to deliver to emergency medicine.

The visit stemmed from the ongoing work of Griffith University’s disaster communications and health experts Dr Hamish McLean and Mr Duncan McConnell at the Centre for Social and Cultural Research.

In 2017, Project Leader McLean and Clinical Director McConnell developed the Roadside to Nationwide EMS and Disaster Program in Mongolia to guide the country toward a sustainable model for emergency medical services.

The ‘Roadside to Nationwide EMS and Disaster Program’ saw the pair experience emergency response first-hand in Mongolia; conducting training workshops, meeting with government officials and donating life-saving equipment to limitedly-stocked ambulance vehicles. McLean and McConnell are now looking at next steps in 2020 and beyond for emergency medical services development.

Director of Griffith’s Centre for Environment and Population Health (CEPH), Professor Cordia Chu, hosted an official welcome lunch which was followed by a workshop in the afternoon, opened by Griffith Humanities, Languages and Social Science Head of School, Professor James Carson.

Griffith University School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Head of School Professor James Carson official welcome speech.

“This project is one of the most important things the School is supporting,” Dr Carson said. “As a School, we’ve made a conscious decision to engage with communities we’re able to enhance through enacting our core value of social justice.”

“We’re thrilled that you’ve come to Australia to discuss your needs and we’re going to do our best to help you meet them.”

Mr Duncan McConnell presenting at the workshop for officials from the Mongolian Society for Emergency Medicine.

With the need for training taking precedence, McConnell – a paramedic with 23 years’ experience – presented options for Mongolia’s next steps: “In July 2020 we commence the ‘Mongolian Medical Responder Program’ where we will start to build the foundations of your prehospital response.”

It is hoped that the piloting of this new training program will lead to nation-wide implementation.

“At the same time, we hope to develop pre-hospital training for doctors and build Mongolia’s aero-medical capacity; ultimately leading to the development of an established paramedicine delivery program,” Mr McConnell said.

Dr Hamish McLean, Duncan McConnell and officials from the Mongolian Society for Emergency Medicine at the official opening of the Mongolian EMS and Disaster Management research desk in the CEPH.

Since pre-hospital care in Mongolia is currently only provided by doctors, Mr McConnell stressed the need to identify the best Entry-to-Practice level for EMS, discussing bridging programs and funding opportunities.

To close the visit, a desk dedicated to research for Mongolian EMS and disaster management was officially opened in the Centre for Environmental and Population Health (CEPH).

Griffith will continue to partner with the Mongolian Society of Emergency Medicine in support of the creation and implementation of sustainable EMS in Mongolia.