The original Dhivehi article was published on Mihaaru.com website on 8th April 2018.
The following is a loose translation:
With a special permit given to ‘Mihaaru’ news, we waited outside on Boduthakurufaanu Magu at the time of the invitation given to us. Glistening and glimmering in front of us, Maldives’ tallest building. The Dharumavantha Hospital will be connected to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, which was constructed 23 years ago.
Yes, indeed, it is not easy to crank your neck up for long to look up at the building. But there is no worry. The building which comes with a National Diagnostic Centre is the ‘Yageen Faruvaa‘ (guaranteed healthcare) that the government is giving to the people. PPM people believe that even for the critics of President Abdulla Yameen government’s healthcare service advancement and other developments, the legacy that he will leave behind will be the hospital.
To welcome us was Dharumavantha Hospital’s Civil Engineer Waheed Sodiq. While showing us around, he then took us to an elevator which was in the hospital’s east side. We were waiting for him at the main entrance of the hospital on Boduthakurufaanu road. Although very high, it didn’t take much time to reach the 24th floor. After 48 seconds inside the elevator, we arrived at the 24th floor. Exiting the elevator, we were struck by the ‘the big picture of Malé’, from this building we can view the entire island’s cityscape.
25-storey: how service will be distributed
Ground floor: Coffee shop and a big public open area
1st Floor: All examination services (X-Ray, CT Scan, MRI)
2nd & 3rd Floor: Out Patient Department, consultation area and dermatology department
4th Floor: Hydropool, Physiotherapy and Sports therapy
5th Floor: Dermatology department, Pediatric department and prayer room for men/women
6th Floor: Ear Nose Throat department, Ophthalmology and Dental department
7th Floor: Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, Bronchoscopy and an Operation theatre
8th and 14th Floor: Medical school. The floors were given separately as when requested for a medical school space, there weren’t floors available
9th Floor: A ultra-modern laboratory that can do extensive investigations
9 – 10th Floor: Cardiac Centre
11th Floor: Cath Lab (A special heart operation theatre), an unprecedented Hybrid Operation Theatre and 10 cubes of Cardio Care Centre.
12th Floor: 4 Operation Theatres
13th Floor: Machinery and equipment
14th Floor: Medical School
15 – 17th Floor: Private Patient Rooms
18 – 19th Floor: Executive Room
20th Floor: Special area for the president and diplomatic personnel
21st – 23rd Floor: Doctor’s Accommodation. Every floor will 2 room 6 apartments. These are especially for visiting doctors and for doctors giving special treatments.
24th Floor: A restaurant with a breathtaking Malé skyline view.
Different in so many ways, uber perfect
It was a whole different scene when the hospital building project which was awarded to Singapore Chang Hua Construction in 5 June 2016, began construction of each floor. Although a 25-storey building has been erected within a year, it is not an ordinary task. The building’s speedy completion was due to work being carried out 24 hours without a break. 400 foreign workers roamed around floors, experts in their own field. Among them, most were from China and Bangladesh, said Sodiq.
According to him, based on the drawing of the building, the work was classified into different areas. Concrete, electricity, wire and cabling, IT and equipment procurements were assigned to specialized companies.
We accessed different floors from the elevator 7. Of the building which has a total of 7 elevators, the 7th is also the Fireman’s elevator. In case of an emergency, the elevator is designated to rescue and evacuate people from the building.
‘This building is different to the rest of the buildings in the Maldives. Like for example, even when it comes to wire and cabling, while all the cables are on the side, they are easily labelled. Even now, the specialised personnel are working on labelling them. One who didn’t participate in making the building would also be able to do work on the building, it will be that easy,’ Sodiq who is in charge of supervising the work on behalf of IGMH.
‘All the work is carried out very systematically. Every finished work which is completed is also perfectly done.’
Sodiq began supervising the work of Dharumavantha Hospital’s work, after working in Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) for 22 years. He left MNDF to devote his time to this building project.
‘This is, in fact, a massive project. We experienced 10-storey building structures in Malé. However, this being the thrice of that, is different in so many ways.’ shared Sodiq, who had been involved in the construction of tall buildings in Malé, while reflecting about his experience in construction.
The government said the hospital building project work is progressing similarly to that of any advanced hospital construction. The highest priority was given to design it in a way that suits Maldives’ environment. Likewise, one feature which was considerably notable was the work of central air conditioning system for the entire building. Instead of installing air conditioning systems on individual floors, a central air conditioning system was established to conserve energy and the environment. Additionally, instrument and equipment sterilization for the operation theatre will also be sent through an auto system.
Sodiq said a major part of the building is almost complete now. He believes that 80% of the building work is complete now. However, we saw that there are still important works to be completed. Although most of the concrete work is done, the floors will be entirely complete only when the necessary equipment is installed. Therefore, the same question was asked repeatedly – like the government said earlier, will the hospital be opened on 26 July 2018? There are just 3 months remaining now.
Initially, 6 floors will be opened
This government’s development programs’ spinal cord, Dharumavantha Hospital project’s work is 15% behind schedule. Some believe there are reasons for this. Firstly, the companies were not able to supply equipment on the date given. Before concrete was laid out on the first floor, the order was placed for the equipment in 2016. When plenty of machinery and equipment are required, so far most the items have not arrived. So the item supplying had been assigned to other companies now.
Despite all these challenges, giving the assurance to the citizens, the government is targeting to open the hospital on 26 July 2018. As when the hospital starts giving service, it will be a tremendous ease for the government.
‘Rest assured, on 26th July, the hospital will open. However, only the first 6 floors will open for service,’ said Mohamed Rishwan, IGMH’s Deputy CEO.
He said the new building will be opened with an OPD, X-Ray, MRI, Physiotherapy, Sports therapy, ENT, Ophthalmology department and a Dental department. He also noted that those are the areas that are high in demand. Therefore, when Dharumavantha Hospital is opened, doctor consultation and services like X-Ray taking will be conducted in that building.
When both buildings are linked with a walkway, it won’t be difficult to obtain service the two buildings. The new building is designed to be accessed from the emergency area of IGMH.
When most of the services given in IGMH are transferred to the new building, more beds will be placed in the empty areas. IGMH, where the majority of Maldivians seek healthcare, has currently 350 beds. However, after the new building, it will increase to 500 beds, said Rishwan.
Therefore, there is a high chance that with the new building, the current headache of lack of space in IGMH, will be eased. The pressure of waiting in line to get a private room to admit a patient will also lower.
Along with modern technology, high-quality service
IGMH is a good example to make comparisons regarding the quality of service. When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdul Azeez planned to visit the Maldives, IGMH’s available services were inspected, by a team of field experts from the US. To check whether the necessary care will be available in the Maldives, in case of a medical emergency for the king.
A quality check was done of IGMH’s different departments, along with the machines and items brought for the necessary care of the Saudi King. After checking areas like the emergency care, cardiac centre and ICU, the team assured the service quality was good.
Therefore, is there room to raise questions about Dharumavantha Hospital, which is being built combined with the modern sophistication of healthcare? Rishwan assured that – even if we look at MRI itself, the order was placed for machines which can detect the finest vein’s behaviour in the body and print that in high resolution. Along with the latest available medical treatment even for heart diseases.
A great step ahead for cancer sufferers in the Maldives
‘When Oncology Department will be transferred to the new building, except for Radiation treatment, all other services will be available. All heart treatment services will be available. Even if an open heart surgery is needed, we also have a theatre to do such a surgery. Looking at kidney diseases, we are hoping before the end of this year we can start kidney transplant service. Even Urinary tract infection (UTI) treatments can be done in a wide range. Therefore, a large percentage of treatments can be done locally, without sending patients abroad,’ said Rishwan.
With the new building, it will be a great relief to get the full healthcare treatment from the Maldives, without going abroad. The hospital development’s purpose is with that intention.
Although Dharumavantha Hospital can provide healthcare to 100,000 people, if the population of Malé, Hulhumalé and Villimalé is increasing, along with a 25-storey building, more buildings need to come up. Those aspects will be included in phase 2 of the hospital, said Rishwan.
‘After completing the 25-storey building, the next building projects will also initiate,’ said Rishwan.
Accordingly, it is in the plan to build a 6, 10 and 13-storey buildings.
It will become a highly promising, revolutionary change
In the eyes of the government supporters, Dharumavantha Hospital is a symbol of President Yameen’s developmental progress. The oppositions accusation is that it is this government’s structure of corruption. While for this project USD 140 million is spent, it is the price of such several more buildings, they say. Meanwhile, while stuck in this debate, the government believes that the new building’s work completion will be a revolutionary change to the health sector.
When the building is completed, the region’s best healthcare service will be available from Malé. That is the guarantee that the government is giving.
6 floors after another 6 floors, the hope is that the building will be fully complete early next year, said Rishwan. Therefore, it will take some time to assess how outstanding the healthcare services are from the now shimmering and shining structure.