Press Release

The first comprehensive PCR laboratory, established with Rio Tinto Mongolia’s COVID-19 relief fund, has been launched

10 February 2021


THE FIRST OF FOUR LABORATORIES, each of which includes 19 equipment and accessories that are used for PCR laboratories according to WHO guideline , is now ready to serve the public

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – The first of four fully equipped PCR laboratories with a set of essential 19 equipment and accessories have been launched at the National Center for Maternal and Child
Health of Mongolia today. The laboratories are being established under the project with a grant of 602,000 USD from Rio Tinto. Most of the remaining three laboratory equipments have arrived in
Mongolia, and these fully equipped PCR laboratories are to be established at the State Hospital Number 2, National Center for Maternal and Child Health of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, the Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Center of Umnugobi province, and the General Hospital of Zamiin-Uud soum in Dornogobi province, the most strategic areas in Mongolia. The laboratory specialists and human resources who will be working in the laboratories have been successfully trained. As part of the Telemedicine, the second component of the project, health workers of bags of provinces and khoroos of districts are provided with the Primary health care provider kits. During the PCR laboratory’s launch event, we handed over the kits to each 14 family health centers of 17th khoroo of Songinokhairkhan district. The kits include tablets and other medical items required for Telemedicine services.

“We are glad to see the government’s commitment to the sustainability of these laboratories. This is the excellent example of Public and Private Partnership that was facilitated by United Nations and both the national and local governments have ensured the funds for building the capacity of the laboratory specialists as well as renovation of laboratory buildings in the hospitals .” said Kaori Ishikawa, UNFPA’s Head of Office in Mongolia.

With the commissioning of these 4 PCR laboratories in accordance with WHO recommendations, Mongolia will have 38 PCR laboratories with a capacity of 42 thousand samples per day, data provided by the Ministry of Health in Mongolia. “At the COVID-19 pandemic time, we are pleased that these four fully equipped international standard laboratories, established with a relief fund from the Rio Tinto, now start servicing to the public. We will continue to support COVID-19 in overcoming the effects of the pandemic,” said Kh. Amarjargal, Rio Tinto’s Deputy Country Director for Mongolia. Through the Mongolian Red Cross Society’s volunteers, Rio Tinto Mongolia LLC has provided food packages to 3,420 households whose financial situation has deteriorated during the lockdown.

Oyu Tolgoi’s chief executive officer, Armando Torres, said, “COVID-19 is testing our resilience as a community. At the same time, Oyu Tolgoi is working hard to keep our employees safe and well, and our operations running, so we can continue to contribute to Mongolia’s economic and social well - being. We are all in this together, and together we can overcome the challenges we are facing.”

The opening ceremony of the fully equipped PCR laboratory took place on February 05, 2021 at the National Center for Maternal and Child Health of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. Please click HERE to download photos and videos of the opening ceremony of the laboratory.

About the project

In October 2020, Rio Tinto announced that it would provide a grant of 602,000 USD in response to COVID-19 in Mongolia. In this context, Rio Tinto are working together with Oyu Tolgoi LLC and the UNFPA to implement the “Building the Capacity for COVID-19 Diagnosis and Service Delivery for the Most Vulnerable in Mongolia amidst Pandemic” for enhancing the capacity of health sector with a focus on COVID-19 preparedness and recovery in Mongolia. The PCR laboratories established at the State Hospital Number 2 in Ulaanbaatar, the Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Umnugobi province and the General Hospital of Zamiin-Uud soum in Dornogobi province will significantly increase the COVID-19 diagnostic capacity at the most strategic locations of Mongolia.

All four laboratories are fully equipped with a set of essential 19 equipment and accessories that are used to carry out safe testing, following the WHO laboratory biosafety guidance related to COVID-19. This sustainable investment in diagnostic capacity of the hospitals include capacity building of the laboratory specialists and will be used not only in COVID-19 pandemic but also various infectious diseases including influenza, antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections, as well as new and re-emerging infections at soum and provincial level, and in Ulaanbaatar. In addition, it will serve as an important tool for ensuring safe pregnancy of Mongolian women. In addition to the 4 PCR laboratories, telemedicine service will be established at the primary health care units as part of this project with aims to ensure the continuity of vital health services for persons requiring regular medical check-ups. A total of 86 tablets, 14 laptops and primary health care provider kits will be provided to health workers of bags and khoroos.

For further information, please contact:

Narantungalag Enkhtur, Rio Tinto, Mongolia, Mobile +976 9404 2241, Email:

Ganzorig Tsend, Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mobile +976 9908 5617, Email :

Ariunzul Gantulga, UNFPA Mongolia, Mobile +976 9998 4729, Email :