Minister for Health S.Lambaa answers questions on the health sector.
Maternity houses have been shutting down one after another. Today, only the
Do you know why the maternity houses are in trouble? As I see it, Maternity Houses Nos. 1, 2, and 3 were destroyed by being respectively privatized, sold and rented out. Provinces are in charge of property there and UB is responsible for the metropolitan property. The Health Ministry is responsible for the legal policies. If there is a proposal to privatize a hospital in UB, the decision is taken by the metropolitan authorities, not the Ministry. This must be changed. Any privatization must be authorized by the Ministry of Health.
The Metropolitan property department favored sale or privatization assuming that birth rates will decrease. There are 20 private hospitals operating in the Baganat chamber. The Ionsei Hospital was actually the first maternity house. But it was sold to Koreans. There are 68,000 births every year, more than half of them in UB. Now everybody is saying things like there are too few maternity houses to meet the work load.
What about the fourth maternity?
MNT 2 billion was budgeted for the construction in 2008. A site in Yarmag has now been chosen after three earlier plots were rejected.
None of them had enough land for a 300-bed hospital. MNT 19 billion has been spent on making the plans in Yarmag but the remaining MNT 700 million is barely enough to build the base. We need more money, foreign and domestic investments and loans.
When will construction start?
Soon. There is the added problem that a sports complex is being constructed right in front of the site for the hospital. There is only one road to both. The place is also far from downtown, raising the risks of taking pregnant women there. The ambulance will be in traffic jams. Maybe we shall have to build a new road. Such matters cannot be resolved easily.
Why is there is so much criticism of the health sector?
I regret this. There are 39,000 people working in the sector and I have faith in their skills and competence. The system of training people in the medical profession is faulty. When I was in the High Education Committee, the Health Ministry was in charge of the
Hospital No.1 was given to the health university in 1998. Previously the education ministry was responsible for it. Then it went back to the education ministry and now the teaching is under the Education Ministry, while the Health Ministry runs the hospital.
What is flawed in the system?
The Health Ministry cannot work with a unified vision if ministers are changed so frequently. It had six ministers between 2004 and 2008. Many wrong policies were followed then. Our ministry no longer sets the policy on traditional medicine. All the mineral water sources have gone into private hands. Only Orgil is now Government property. The Health Science Corporation is owned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. But its expenses come from the Health Ministry. There are many such examples.