Initiative: Telemedicine Support for Maternal and Newborn Health
Institution: National Center for Maternal and Child Health (NCMCH)
Problem: With a population of 3 million, living within 1.56 million square kilometers, Mongolia is one of the least densely populated country. The sparse distribution of people makes it challenging to deliver health care services to rural and remote areas and it is difficult to maintain quality specialist care facilities and qualified human resources in the countryside. Discrepancies in the quality of health care is aggravated by low economic opportunities in the countryside which hinders the achievement of Mongolia’s national health targets in the Millennium Development Goals.
Solution: The initiative aims to connect every provincial hospital in the country with experts at the NCMCH by allowing local physicians to consult with a team of national experts in real time without having to leave the examination room. The nationwide network offers remote consultations and learning opportunities for over 200 provincial doctors. A team of 39 experts has been identified at the NCMCH.
Impact: The provincial hospitals have been given access to trained specialists at the NCMCH on management of high-risk pregnancies and maternal and newborn complications. A range of training activities have been carried out on emergency obstetrics skills, prenatal ultrasound diagnostics, early newborn resuscitation and screening, advanced surgical skills in gynecology, and midwifery practices. A total of 1,080 health professionals benefited from in-country trainings and 44 health professionals participated in overseas training. Additionally, an e-learning platform was created to support continuous medical education. Experts and rural specialists agreeing on the same diagnosis increased to 84.5 per cent compared to a baseline of 62.3 per cent in 2011, indicating significant improvement in quality of care provided in provincial hospitals after the programme. Mongolia achieved MDGs and reduced the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by more than 75 per cent since 1990. Due to continued support through the network and quality training for early newborn care in local hospitals, rates of perinatal and early newborn mortalities dropped from 15.4 and 7.8 to 12.8 and 6.8 per 1,000 live births respectively, between 2011 and 2016.