I recently visited Tumurdavaa Gursed in her remote ger to report on the problems of safe surgery in the Mongolian countryside. She served boiled horse with blood pudding and told me how a surgical team travelled by night in subzero temperatures to carry out an emergency Caesarean section by torchlight as she lay on the bench where we are all sitting in this picture. The operation saved her life and that of her newborn baby.
Tumurdavaa was lucky. One million people in the Mongolian countryside - men, women and children - cannot have emergency surgery simply because doctors in rural Mongolia do not have robust anaesthesia machines that will enable them to operate in locations lacking reliable electricity or oxygen. Every year thousands of Mongolian people die or are left with severe avoidable injury.
It doesn't have to be like that. Back home, I talked to Diamedica. This ground-breaking engineering company based in Devon manufactures the high quality, portable anaesthesia machines so desperately needed in Mongolia.
Working with top anaesthetists from Mongolia and Australia, I set up Safe Anaesthesia Mongolia, an offshoot of the global charity Safe Anaesthesia WorldWide. Now we're raising the money to send five anaesthesia machines to five towns in the Steppes and the Gobi Desert that so far have small hospitals but no operating theatres. Once the machines arrive, local surgical teams will receive training to begin to make world class safe surgery available in an emergency for up to 100,000 people living in and around these towns. Please support us today by donating to our campaign.