Mongolia is a huge country and for decades has been a satellite of the former Soviet Union. As part of the changes in Eastern Europe in 1990, a democracy movement had emerged also in Mongolia. The first free elections were held on June 28, 1992. The system change produced winners and losers.

Mongolia, after a long period of stagnation (1990-2002 +3 to -3%), now has economic growth of 5.3 to 10 %; The increase is largely due to the services sector, which rose to nearly 40% of the GDP, as well as higher world market prices for copper and gold. However, this economic growth passed by the poor part of the population: around 21% live below the extreme poverty line. The difficult years of reform have increased the share of the private sector to 80%, however it has widened social disparities and the urban-rural gap. And the gap between rich and poor has risen massively.

The climate in Mongolia is extreme continental. The average life expectancy is almost 70 years (2015). On one hand the health service is state-owned (children and mothers officially do not pay anything until their child is 2 years old). On the other hand a privatized medicine is spreading, which, like everywhere, picks and chooses and contributes little community services (education, etc.). 

The birth rate in Mongolia is significantly higher than in Switzerland. In 2017, it was 18.9 per 1000 inhabitants. In comparison: 10.5  per 1000 inhabitants in Switzerland during the same period. With a population of 3.18 million in 2017, it is around 80’000, which is almost the same amount as in Switzerland with 8 million inhabitants.

Practically all births in Mongolia take place in birth centres. The National Center for Maternal and Child Health (NCMCH) in Ulaanbaatar is one of four such clinics in the capital of Mongolia. Medical mentality is still strongly influenced by the Soviet mentality. Often there is a lack of understanding of pathophysiological context or lack of the possibility of modern diagnostics. Child mortality is 10 times higher than in Switzerland, which is obviously a reflection of the quality of medical care.