Impact assessment of a raw coal ban on maternal and child health outcomes in Ulaanbaatar: a protocol for an interrupted time series study

Emma Dickinson-Craig, Jargalsaikhan Badarch*, Suzanne Bartington, Karla Hemming, Rasiah Thayakaran, Rosie Day, Francis Pope, Bataa Chuluunbaatar, Damdindorj Boldbaatar, Chimedsuren Ochir, David Warburton, Graham Neil Thomas, Semira Manaseki-Holland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction Despite a decade of policy actions, Ulaanbaatar’s residents continue to be exposed to extreme levels of air pollution, a major public health concern, especially for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children. In May 2019, the Mongolian government implemented a raw coal ban (RCB), prohibiting distribution and use of raw coal in households and small businesses in Ulaanbaatar. Here, we present the protocol for an interrupted time series (ITS; a strong quasi-experimental study design for public health interventions) that aims to assess the effectiveness of this coal ban policy on environmental (air quality) and health (maternal and child) outcomes.

Methods and analysis Routinely collected data on pregnancy and child respiratory health outcomes between 2016 and 2022 in Ulaanbaatar will be collected retrospectively from the four main hospitals providing maternal and/or paediatric care as well as the National Statistics Office. Hospital admissions data for childhood diarrhoea, an unrelated outcome to air pollution exposure, will be collected to control for unknown or unmeasured coinciding events. Retrospective air pollution data will be collected from the district weather stations and the US Embassy. An ITS analysis will be conducted to determine the RCB intervention impact on these outcomes. Prior to the ITS, we have proposed an impact model based on a framework of five key factors, which were identified through literature search and qualitative research to potentially influence the intervention impact assessment.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been obtained via the Ministry of Health, Mongolia (No.445) and University of Birmingham (ERN_21-1403). To inform relevant stakeholders of our findings, key results will be disseminated on both (inter)national and population levels through publications, scientific conferences and community briefings. These findings are aimed to provide evidence for decision-making in coal pollution mitigation strategies in Mongolia and similar settings throughout the world.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere061723
JournalBMJ open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023


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