Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

A mixed-methods study of hospital-acquired infections in Mongolia

Introduction / objectives

Official reports of Mongolia indicate that hospital-acquired infections (HAI) occur in 0.01–0.05% of all hospital admissions. This is considerably lower than internationally reported rates. There have been no published HAI prevalence studies from Mongolia. We aimed to determine the first accurate estimate of HAI prevalence in two tertiary hospitals of Ulaanbaatar and to seek explanation for underreporting of HAIs in Mongolian hospitals.


In 2008, a one-day survey examined all 933 inpatients in two hospitals. Cases of HAI were diagnosed using CDC (USA) definitions. Subsequently, 87 health professionals were recruited for 55 interviews and 4 group discussions. Perceived reasons and mechanisms of underreporting were identified.


Prevalence of HAI was 50/933 (5.4%) overall HAI, 0.3% for bloodstream infection, 1.3% for respiratory tract infection, 1.3%, for urinary tract infection and 1.4%, for other HAI. Among surgical patients, prevalence of surgical site infection was 3.9%. Participants in the qualitative study explained that underreporting of HAI is mainly a response to punitive performance evaluation by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and penalisation of hospitals and staff by the State Inspection Agency when HAI were detected.


The prevalence of HAIs in two Mongolian tertiary hospitals is comparable with reports from some other developing countries. The MoH statistics underestimate the true burden of HAI in Mongolia. Inclusion of the overall HAI rate in the targeted performance indicator set and the use of strict control and penalisation of hospitals with reported HAI cases are factors that have contributed to gaming, which has resulted in deliberate, extreme under-reporting of HAI cases in Mongolian hospitals.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ider, BE., Clements, A., Adams, J. et al. A mixed-methods study of hospital-acquired infections in Mongolia. BMC Proc 5 (Suppl 6), O15 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: