Griffith experts help Mongolian medical and emergency staff prep for COVID-19

Two Griffith University academics working from home offices in Brisbane are helping medics in Mongolia prepare for COVID-19 and beyond.

Roadside to Nationwide EMS and Disaster program Clinical Director Duncan McConnell said Mongolia had so far seen only 30 confirmed cases, with 5 recovered patients and 25 active cases. None have been caused by community transmission.

Slide from today’s webinar with medical and emergency staff

Senior Lecturer McConnell and project leader Dr Hamish McLean today hosted a webinar specifically suited to conditions in Mongolia for frontline medical and emergency staff across the nation.

The ban on travel has not stopped McConnell and Dr McLean stepping up their program online to assist Mongolia’s emergency health services (EMS) deal with the potential impact of the pandemic.

Clinical Director Duncan McConnell hands over donated life saving equipment to a road accident rescue station in northern Mongolia along the busy road to the Russian Federation.

“We have travelled several times to Mongolia to run workshops, so for us continuing our support is a no brainer given the keen interest by the Mongolian Society of Emergency Medicine to benchmark its current preparations,” Mr McConnell said.

The webinar materials covered topics such as the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), transporting patients in respiratory distress, surges in the number of ambulance calls and communication.

“Although the Australian university sector has been hard-hit by the fallout from the pandemic, we can still do much to help deliver essential practical information to those who need it,” Dr McLean said.

“COVID-19 does not respect borders, so if we can make a difference from here in Australia that is good news.”

Mr McConnell said Mongolia was well organised for COVID-19.

“They have done a fantastic job given the limited resources,” he said.

“Mongolia’s quick action along its land borders and entry via air, even before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, has enabled them to get ahead of this virus.

“The Mongolians should be very proud of the work they have done here and the positive effect it is having.

“Of Mongolia’s 30 patients, 4 were foreigners and 26 were citizens who flew in from abroad.”

The Griffith University project has been working with partner agencies in Mongolia for the past three years to help build EMS and disaster resilience.