The ethical health of our healthcare system


Many believe that medical ethics and responsibility are the main pillars of the medical sector, but some doctors and officials don’t own up to their responsibilities and do not pursue professional ethics. This has led to the public suspecting that the healthcare system is linked to corruption. Even though everybody agrees that only doctors can help us out of illness, the problem is that instead of healing patients and providing real medical advice, some medical professionals take advantage of people suffering from illness to make more money.

Many agree that there are a lot of doctors and medical organizations putting profit first and providing people with good medical service second. Politicians talk about a number of projects that sound good but are not working.

The Mongolian People’s Party talked a lot about bringing the number of Mongolians infected with the hepatitis C virus down to zero by 2020 by implementing the Eleg Buten Mongol Program. The program was claimed to be part of the MPP’s government action plan during election campaigns in June, but the most important thing when it comes to political promises is action.

In fact, a number of state health care authorities have a tendency to take advantage of these kinds of projects to put money in their pockets. One woman took a screening test for hepatitis, and she was devastated to hear that the virus was in her liver. She didn’t believe it.

Fortunately, the woman learned that her medical report was wrong after taking the test again, but she didn’t want to know if the mistake was made on purpose or not. People say that numerous doctors engage in corruption to serve others, and it is commonly known that some pharmacies and private clinics are being operated to encourage people receiving treatment for hepatitis C to buy medications from them.

Many have said that some doctors force people to buy products from a well known pharmacy by only including their products in their prescriptions, and these doctors receive 20,000 to 40,000 MNT for each prescription from the pharmacy for doing so.

Mongolia has very high rates of hepatitis B and C in terms of its population. When people are diagnosed with hepatitis B and/or C, they go to hospitals to see doctors, but many doctors send them to their silent partners’ hospitals or pharmacies to buy specific medication.

Patients are willing to spend a lot of money to buy medication suggested by a doctor, as no one wants to die from a treatable disease. These doctors know that forcing and persuading patients to do something is in violation of the Code of Medical Ethics, but they don’t adhere to laws, regulations, or ethics, they want to make more money.

There are four or five companies importing medication for hepatitis C from the United States and India, and their medications cost 155 USD to 525 USD. The Ministry of Health and the General Agency for Specialized Inspection need to take control of these companies to determine if their products effectively treat people, as well as take control of evaluating all other imported pharmaceuticals.

We enjoy the developing democratic and humane society in which we are living, but our society has not been supporting the public with good healthcare. Receiving medical services can be very hard for people without good connections or a lot of money.

Doctors, who have vowed to provide everyone with the medical care they need, make excuses (heavy workloads and a patient’s lack of a permanent address) to avoid treating patients who don’t serve their profitmotivated interests.

Numerous people blame medical bureaucracy and the poor quality management for the problems in the industry. If you want to see a doctor at a public hospital, you do need time, because first you need to make an appointment to a see specialist at a clinic after seeing a doctor from your area hospital.

Unfortunately, your appointment will be at least two weeks after your initial visit to a general physician. When you see the specialist, he or she will send you to a private hospital to be tested, because the specialist’s clinic doesn’t have a laboratory or the proper equipment for diagnosing your illness.

Healthcare for low and middle-income Mongolians is not being carried out in a fast and effective way. The world of maternal healthcare presents all these same challenges for patients without connections or friends at the state’s maternity hospitals and for those who can’t afford care and delivery at a private hospital.

None of us like this system too much, but it has started to grow on us as “the way things are”. We cannot afford to perpetuate this kind of medical system, our lives are depending on it.