Usher Institute

Making strides in Mongolia

[14 Mar 2016] Medical colleagues travelled to Mongolia to encourage further progress in palliative care. One of them ran, and won, the Ghangis Khan Ice Marathon.

In January a team from The University of Edinburgh travelled to Mongolia to visit colleagues in Ulaanbaatar who are making great strides in palliative care.  The team included two members of the Murray family, one of whom braved temperatures of -34 Celsius and packs of wolves to win the very first Ghengis Khan Ice Marathon.

Palliative care

Palliative care is a practical approach to actively support people with life-threatening illnesses to live as fully as possible and then to die well. The approach is assuming an importance worldwide, and both Scotland and Mongolia have made great strides in recent times. 

Professor Scott Murray presenting a quaich to his Mongolian colleagues

A unique environment

Mongolia is the least densely populated, and one of the most interesting and culturally diverse countries on earth.  Despite its vast landmass and comparatively small population, huge progress in the last decade means that Mongolia is now globally ranked 18th best for end-of-life care.

A warm welcome

Ulaanbaatar might be the world’s coldest capital city but the team from Edinburgh received an extremely warm welcome. Scott Murray, Professor of Palliative Care in the Community took the opportunity to discuss and congratulate Professor Odontuya Davaasuren on Mongolia’s progress in the area.

We were delighted to visit Mongolia and to see palliative care progressing so strongly even to remote areas through the training of general practitioners and other staff in the community. 

Professor Scott MurrayProfessor of Palliative Care in the Community

A Mongolian Burns Night

The team were delighted to attend a very unique Burns Night celebration during their trip to Ulaanbaatar. Guests included the former Prime Minister as well as the British High Commissioner who pledged support to further the development of palliative care.

MVM Doctor Andrew Murray on his way to winning the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon

Medals for Murrays

Medal winning in the Murray family is something they have become accustomed to. In 2013 Professor Scott Murray was awarded the Principal’s Medal for exceptional service.  His son, Dr Andrew Murray, is a Consultant in Sport & Exercise Medicine at the University and is currently undertaking his PhD on the health benefits of golf. The Ghengis Khan victory is just one of many for Andrew and others successes worldwide include gruelling races in the North Pole, Antarctica and the jungles of Indonesia.

Visit the Primary Palliative Care Research Group website