Within Mongolia, anaesthetic facilities, as in all areas of health and education, are limited. Equipment/supplies and hence anaesthetic practice varies between hospitals. Though a few hospitals have newer equipment most rely on older and even pre-Russian machines and monitoring. Few anaesthetic drugs are available. Little equipment is “disposable”. Anaesthetic textbooks are all much outdated and in Russian. Very few doctors are able to speak English. The current duration of anaesthetic training is 12 to 18 months. This has only been so for approximately two years. Previously, with a marked shortage of anaesthetists, training time varied from as little as 4 months. It is evident that there are many areas of anaesthetic practice where guidance would markedly increase anaesthetic skills and improve patient care.
One area of need is undergraduate and post graduate anaesthetic training.
The ASA and WFSA have had a major influence on the advancement of anaesthesia within Mongolia. The WFSA funding of one year positions in Thailand over the last seven years has create a “critical mass” of enthusiastic, motivated and educated anaesthetist who are creating their own educational programmes for Mongolia. The ASA has provided intensive anaesthetic seminars in 2000, 2002 and 2005 and 2006. On each occasion at least one quarter of Mongolian anaesthetists have attended. Hospitals in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar and within the country regions have benefited from tutorials, practical demonstrations and the donation of educational resources.
Future ASA assistance in Mongolia will expand to focus on sub-specialities. The 2006 seminar focused on obstetric anaesthesia and pain management.
The ASA’s support for anaesthetic education assistance has had consequences beyond enlightening anaesthetists in Mongolia, significantly altering anaesthetic practice and improving patient care. It has also stimulated the creation of the website www.developinganaesthesia.org/ and a CD of the pdf textbook, Developing Anaesthesia. The site is to be further developed and the textbook will be established throughout the region with the assistance of Interplast Australia and AusAid.
Anaesthetists interested in the Mongolian Anaesthesia Project are invited to email Dr David Pescod.