Health policy graduate driving change through education

6 September 2023
One graduates desire to enhance the quality of patient services
From the University of Sydney to Ulaanbaatar, health policy graduate Munkhjargal Byambajav is working to improve health outcomes for people in Mongolia.
Health policy graduate Munkhjargal Byambajav

While working as a Gastroenterologist at the National Center for Maternal and Child Health in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Munkhjargal Byambajav held strong aspirations to enhance the quality of services provided and elevate patient satisfaction levels.

This desire led her to want to better understand healthcare systems, and ultimately, to relocating to Australia and studying a Master of Health Policy at the University of Sydney.

“The degree offered a range of courses that I felt could provide me with valuable insights and provide me with a glimpse of how I could become proficient in creating transformative changes and interventions within the healthcare landscape,” says Munkhjargal.

Munkhjargal felt that she needed to advance not only her education, but her sense of self-confidence.

“I struggled with self-expression in front of others, harboured a fear of asking questions, hesitated to seek help when faced with uncertainty, and lacked critical thinking abilities.

“However, as time progressed, I began to experience a shift. The courses I engaged with, particularly those cantered around policy making, stakeholder engagement, analysis, evaluation, and the timing of policy implementation, gradually unveiled a new perspective”.

In thinking back to her experience as a student at the University of Sydney, Munkhjargal reflects on the generosity of her teachers.

“I was genuinely impressed by the sincerity, willingness, and genuine desire to help students like me realise their full potential," she says.

"The university's commitment to fostering a comfortable atmosphere and encouraging student participation in various activities deeply impressed me.

"It served as a motivating force, pushing me to work even harder in my studies so as not to let down those who selflessly and wholeheartedly supported me throughout my years of education.”

Health policy graduate Munkhjargal Byambajav in the classroom

Opening doors

After graduating with a Master of Health Policy in 2018, Munkhjargal quickly ascended professionally.

“The degree I obtained, along with my newly acquired skills, opened doors to remarkable opportunities,” she says.

“I returned to Mongolia and secured the position of Quality Manager, then Healthcare Program Manager at the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in Ulaanbaatar.

"In this capacity, I've been able to propose and champion a range of health initiatives, securing funding for projects that are close to my heart.

"Among these projects are endeavours such as ‘Saving Sight’ which focuses on providing eye care to underprivileged children, and ‘Empowering Young Adults’, aimed at equipping young individuals with accurate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.

"Reflecting upon my achievements and successes, it is evident that they stem from my time at the University of Sydney.

"Had I not pursued the Master of Health Policy, I would likely have remained solely focused on practicing medicine, rather than spearheading significant projects and programs aimed at effecting positive change for those in dire need."

Acting on opportunities

In the future, Munkhjargal would like to be able to use her skills to drive change in Mongolia.

“In the context of being a developing country, Mongolia holds a wealth of untapped opportunities. We have the chance to draw upon the successful practices implemented in more developed nations," she says.

"By tailoring these practices to align with our unique Mongolian culture and system, we can effectively enhance our healthcare system and expedite progress.

“I have a desire to create a better future. This, coupled with the lessons learned from my academic journey, fuels my unwavering commitment to persist.

"There may be challenges today, but we are steadfastly moving towards the day when we will overcome these obstacles and instigate the transformative changes that Mongolia deserves.”

Our Master of Health Policy and Planning has replaced the previously offered Master of Health Policy, designed to provide a detailed and practical understanding of health systems and the policy-making process.

Related articles