Mongolia is a land-locked country bordered by China and the Russian Federation. Both countries have reported outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza that could be transmitted to humans. Mongolia became vulnerable to this serious disease.
Mongolia also plays a unique role in the global response to avian influenza. Every year millions of birds migrate through Mongolia between their Arctic breeding ground and the wintering ground in the south. Monitoring those birds is an essential task for Mongolia.
In response to the threat posed by the disease, the Government of Mongolia prepared a three-year National Strategy and Action Plan for Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza and requested that the World Bank evaluate the strategy. The Bank’s assessment of this plan in 2007 noted the country’s progress in disease preparedness, but also pointed out the existing gaps, such as lack of technical and financial resources and low personnel capacity in Mongolia to fight diseases.
The project focused on strengthening the capacity of key agencies involved in the Avian and Human Influenza preparedness and response: the National Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Food, the Agriculture and Light Industry of the Ministry of Health, and their counterparts at the aimag (province) level. The project aimed to raise awareness among senior policy makers and officials, review and improve the existing policy and regulatory framework related to the disease, improve the existing command and control structures with international best practices, and develop standard operational procedures.
The project also helped establish computer-based early warning and surveillance systems across the country, equipped response teams in different sectors with better technical skills, and upgraded infection control and intensive care facilities in provincial hospitals that could be most exposed to such diseases.