In comparison to China, Mongolia experienced a major shift from Soviet socialism to neoliberal reform. In 1990 Mongolia implemented its “shock therapy,” a transition strategy characterized by price liberalization, less regulated international trade and investment, and reduction of the government’s size. However, the economic reform backfired and conditions quickly worsened–increase in poverty, decrease in living standards, and inequitable distribution of wealth. Government funding for public services quickly dropped significantly, namely health care.
Like within other rural, developing regions, the duties of a women are excruciating and detrimental. A woman may decrease her food consumption in order to provide for her family, or she may delay a trip to the health clinic to not waste time that could be spent on housework.
The highest peak of maternal mortality was between 1992 – 1994, but still remains higher than before the transition from socialism. Evidence shows a strong inverse correlation between maternal mortality and per capita GDP, which is a trend seen around the world. Studies also show that the same issues surrounding maternal health present in China and India–severe bleeding, unsanitary conditions, limited antibiotics, rural regions–also plague Mongolia’s maternal system. But what is most interesting about Mongolia is that all other conditions typically associated with low economic conditions–low education, lower social standing–are noticeably higher, creating an almost ideal environment for women’s health. Unfortunately, many other powerful factors associated with post-Socialism continue to negatively impact maternal health, including closing of maternity wards, lack of training for rural physicians and midwives, and the disintegration of the health system.
Although we see clear relationships between factors like a woman’s age, socioeconomic status, and education level, and maternal mortality, we continue to see failed interventions and programs. Miller et al states the reason for this is that these interventions are not constructed in a cultural, political or social-specific context. Both internal and external authorities fail to examine the specific underlying issues that continue to impact maternal health and mortality, the most significant indicator of social injustice and inequality. Instead, many new interventions do not respond to the needs of a system in harmony with existing traditions or practices. Women lack an effective and efficient system, as well. Due to rural conditions, intense housekeeping, and child rearing, women do not have the means to create a movement of women who could have the power to call for and implement change.