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Training Others to Save Lives

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

Story by Sirpa Rissanen.


Nurses Heart to Heart (NHTH) is an organization that enables nurses to volunteer their time and talents to teach basic and advanced life-saving skills including CPR to professionals in different parts of the world. Blue Sky Aviation (MAF’s Operation in Mongolia) had the opportunity to fly NHTH on a training safari this year!



In 2011, Anita Owens-Rich, the CEO of Nurses Heart to Heart (NHTH), gathered a group of nurses and fundraised for a new set of dummies (manikins) for health training purposes. Her team have returned to Mongolia every year since then, visiting different parts of rural Mongolia, giving CPR training to medical professionals and rescue personnel in each province. Once the training is complete, Anita’s team donate the manikins to each province’s medical staff for them to establish their own CPR training programs.


On this year’s flight with Blue Sky Aviation (MAF in Mongolia), Pilot Roy Rissanen flew a team from NHTH to two locations. The passengers on the flight were Anita Owens-Rich, Tanya Owens, a Mongolian doctor and nurses and midwives from various hospitals in Ulaanbaatar.


The first stop was Kharkhorin–an hour and five minutes’ flight from Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. A one-day training for approximately 90 attendees saw army and rescue personnel, midwives and other medical staff taking part in the training procedures. Anita’s team used manikins to demonstrate how to properly administer CPR to both adults and children.


Typically, nurses and doctors would have studied the theory of first aid, but for most of the participants, it was the first time they had the opportunity to use their knowledge practically and practice CPR using practice dummies. Midwife Tanya Owens used some of the manikins to demonstrate the process of emergency delivery to emergency personnel. The distances in Mongolia are long and driving from remote locations to hospitals takes hours. It is very useful for ambulance/taxi drivers to know the basics, should deliveries happen on-the-road.


The second stop was Khalkhin Gol, a remote village in Eastern Mongolia. The road to the village is rough, and it would have taken 2 days to drive there from Ulaanbaatar. The flight back to Ulaanbaatar took only a small fraction of that time, 4 hours! Khalkhin Gol is a remote military post village on the Chinese border with Mongolia. The place has significance because 80 years ago a battle took place against Japanese military and the Japanese were defeated there by the Soviet and Mongolian armies. A temporary airstrip has been opened in Khalkhin Gol. The facilities at the village are very basic; even the hospital lacks a water toilet in place. Army and security personnel, approximately 50 in total, attended the CPR/emergency delivery training.


Roy (pilot) recalls: “One of the Mongolian doctors in the team, a cardiac pediatrician, operated on the Khalkhin Gol army commander’s child a few years ago. The army commander was now returning the favor by hosting the team from Nurses Heart to Heart, and organized all the logistics during the visit.”


Upon arrival, traditional milk cups (symbol of blessing) were presented to Anita and the group members.


What a blessing for Blue Sky Aviation, to be able to assist Nurses Heart to Heart, as they go about equipping others to save lives.



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