In order to support the efforts to fight COVID-19 and its social and economic impacts, Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi are investing a further US$602,000 - or ~MNT1.7 billion - in a project across Mongolia with focus on increasing the resilience and response capability of the country.
Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi are partnering with United Nations Population Fund and its local and national stakeholders to support essential preventative measures during this challenging time.
Amarjargal Khenchbish, deputy country director for Rio Tinto Mongolia, said, “At Rio Tinto, our focus is on the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we operate and on keeping our operations running safely during the times of pandemic, so we can continue to contribute to local and national economies and serve our customers.
“We’re pleased to be partnering with UNFPA in our joint efforts to improve COVID-19 and infectious disease diagnosis, early detection as well as telemedicine service capacity in Mongolia.” Oyu Tolgoi’s chief executive officer, Armando Torres, said, “This pandemic is testing our resilience as a community while we work hard on the business continuity in the challenging circumstances. So, we want to continue to do our part in the readiness and preparedness measures to increase resilience of the communities so we can overcome the social and economic hardships together. After all, we are all in this together.”An overall aim of the partnership is to continue building capacity of health facilities serving the underprivileged and high-risk populations to accurately diagnose COVID-19 and other infections, and to provide telemedicine services for high-risk patients and pregnant women requiring regular medical checkups by specialists amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Expected outcomes as a result of the investment:
Increased diagnostic capacity
Diagnostic services for COVID-19 in Umnugobi Regional Diagnosis and Treatment Centre, Dornogobi General Hospital, the COVID-19/Ulaanbaatar City Maternal and Children’s Hospital, and National Centre for Mother and Child Health will be established:
- Procure laboratory equipments
- three thermocyclers for Umnugobi RDTC, Dornogobi General Hospital, and the COVID-19/UB City Maternal and Children’s Hospital (NCMCH has a thermocycler)
- four negative pressure biosafety cabinets or PCR hoods
- four micro centrifuges for DNA work
- four minus 70 degrees’ Celsius freezers
- DNA/RNA extraction kits
- COVID-19 primers and seed PCR reagents
Upgrade laboratories of the above facilities to meet the international standards of infectious disease diagnosis, and provide necessary equipments.
Provide training for laboratory staff in collaboration with WHO funded through European Union.
Health and wellbeing of persons requiring regular checkups by medical specialists will be protected:
- Develop a guideline for providing outreach health care by grassroots health workers to facilitate contacts and online counselling by medical specialists in maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as in internal medicine, endocrinology and mental health.
- Provide grassroots health care provider kits for community health workers at baghs of Umnugobi and Dornogobi, and ger areas of Songinokhairkhan district of Ulaanbaatar. The kit is described as per Health Minister’s Order A291 of the year 2020 and includes:
- Portable tablets with internet access
- Pulse oximeter
- Weight scale
- Sphygmomanometer or blood pressure gauge
- Fetal stethoscope
- Blood sugar and cholesterol rapid tests
Training for health care providers on the provision of remote ANC services and utilization of Zoom or Mn.Obstetrics software or equivalents approved by the MOH.
Earlier initiatives Oyu Tolgoi committed
Oyu Tolgoi and its employees donated MNT455 million to support the COVID-19 outbreak prevention efforts, including MNT100 million to the Government of Mongolia through the Mongolian National Mining Association, MNT200 million to the Umnugovi Emergency Committee, and MNT10 million to the Khanbogd Emergency Committee through the Gobi Oyu Development Support Fund. Oyu Tolgoi miners also launched a donation campaign and raised over MNT145 million, which was donated to the Ministry of Health. Employees from thirty-eight contractor companies joined the campaign as #WeAreAllInThisTogether.
Notes to editors
The US$602,000 partnership is part of a commitment Rio Tinto has made to support communities around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. For more information, please visit: https://www.riotinto.com/news/covid-19
About Oyu Tolgoi LLC (www.ot.mn)
Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mining company, is a strategic partnership between the Government of Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources and Rio Tinto. Located in the South Gobi, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipment of product to customers in July 2013. Oyu Tolgoi is managed by Rio Tinto, which is investing global expertise and cutting-edge technology to help develop Mongolia’s mining industry and ensure Oyu Tolgoi is one of the world’s most advanced mines. For Oyu Tolgoi, nothing matters more than safety. The business operates under the principle that if a job cannot be done safely, it will not be done at all.