Air Pollution Impact on Health

Projekt abgeschlossen
air polluted suburban area in UB
air polluted suburban area in UB ©UNICEF

This project aims at reducing the risks of air pollution to maternal and child health in urban Mongolia targeting the most polluted areas of Ulaanbaatar and one province centre. This sector governance project establishes evidence linking air pollution and its health impact, pilots and improves risk reduction measures for children and pregnant women, and both will inform policy making. Swiss know-how will be applied, i.e. through involvement of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Land/Region Thema Periode Budget
Klimawandel & Umwelt
Politik des öffentlichen Sektors
Primäre Gesundheitsversorgung
01.10.2018 - 31.03.2023
CHF  4’912’500
Hintergrund Air pollution in urban Mongolia is amongst the highest in the world. In winter months, the levels of PM2.5 pollution can reach 1,985 micrograms per cubic meter — nearly 80 times the level WHO recommends as safe. The vast majority of that pollution is caused by the burning of coal for homes’ heating. Air pollution has a devastating impact on children’s health. According to UNICEF and the Public Health Institute, pneumonia is now the second leading cause of under-five child mortality in Mongolia. Children living in a highly-polluted district of Ulaanbaatar were found to have 40% lower lung function than children living in a rural area. In the last 10 years, the incidence of respiratory diseases in the country has increased alarmingly, including a 2.7-fold increase in flu, flu-like symptoms and asthma. In Ulaanbaatar, a 3.5-fold increase in foetal deaths has been documented between winter and summer. These harmful effects are likely to manifest throughout children’s lives and in turn fuelling intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. Most of the efforts made by the Government and development partners are focusing on clean energy solutions; measures undertaken so far are not effective, not evidence based and specific data on air pollution and health remains insufficient. Meanwhile, urgent actions must be taken to reduce maternal and child health risks in Mongolia.

The project goal is to reduce the risks of air pollution to maternal and child health through enhanced knowledge, evidence based policy, improved institutional capacity and action on the ground to reduce exposure. It also aims at strengthening health services for vulnerable children and pregnant women, and will contribute to reduced incidence of 1) pneumonia amongst children under 5, and 2) of air pollution related pregnancy risks.

Ultimately, urban Mongolia has acceptable air quality and the health system will be able to monitor and provide adequate care to children and adults with air pollution related health conditions due to childhood exposure.


Preschool children and pregnant and lactating women in Ulaanbaatar (population: 1.5 million), with project focus on the ger areas of Bayanzurkh and of Songinokhairkhan districts (the last a replication with funding from the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar).

Preschool children and pregnant and lactating women in Bayankhongor (population: 87,243) provincial centre with very high level of air pollution during winter.

Mittelfristige Wirkungen
  1. Improved capacity to generate and disseminate data, research, analysis and information on air pollution and maternal and child health.
  2. Preschool children and pregnant women are at lower health risk from air pollution through piloting community level risk reduction measures.
  3. Maternal and child health risk reduction measures integrated in relevant national and local policies.

Erwartete Resultate:  

  • Specific data and evidence on the impacts of air pollution on maternal and child health generated
  • Health sector capacity has been strengthened to systematically collect, coordinate, analyse and disseminate data and research on air pollution and maternal and child health
  • Government has improved capacity to provide information and guidance on the risks of air pollution
  • Kindergartens, maternity and paediatric wards in ger areas, e.g. Bayanzurkh and Songinokhairkhan districts, are able to better manage indoor air quality all year
  • Primary health care services for maternal and child health have been strengthened in the ger areas
  • Extended packages of primary health services and enhanced access to quality medication for children suffering from air pollution are provided
  • Health sector air pollution preparedness plans are developed and implemented
  • Support given and evidence generated for policy measures to reduce maternal and child health risks due to air pollution
  • The National Committee on Air and Environmental Pollution Reduction has increased capacity to address air pollution issues
  • Bayankhongor government has strengthened its policy and institutional capacity to reduce air pollution risks and impacts on maternal and child health

Resultate von früheren Phasen:   No previous phase implemented.

Verantwortliche Direktion/Bundesamt DEZA
Kreditbereich Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
Projektpartner Vertragspartner
Ausländische Hochschul- und Forschungsinstitution
Organisation der Vereinten Nationen (UNO)
  • Other Academic Research North
  • United Nations Children’s Fund

Koordination mit anderen Projekten und Akteuren
  • Public Investment in Energy Efficiency Project Phase 2 (GiZ/SDC/BMZ)
  • Capacity Development Project for Air Pollution Control in Ulaanbaatar City Phase 3 (JICA)
  • Ulaanbaatar Air Quality Improvement Program – Policy-based Loan (ADB)
  • Health Sector Development Programmes (ADB)
Budget Laufende Phase Schweizer Beitrag CHF    4’912’500 Bereits ausgegebenes Schweizer Budget CHF    4’851’387

Phase 1 01.10.2018 - 31.03.2023   (Completed)