The persistent efforts being made by Maldives to provide quality healthcare to its people, and the country’s contribution to promote well-being in WHO South-East Asia Region, has been recognised by the World Health Organization.
At the Seventieth Regional Committee Session of WHO, all 11 Member States adopted the Male declaration to build health systems resilient to climate change.
The Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, lauded Maldives for devoting 9 per cent of its GDP to health to ensure quality health services to all citizens despite major geographical challenges.
These efforts are transforming into results, with Maldives eliminating a number of diseases in recent years – polio, maternal and neonatal tetanus, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and measles.
Recognizing Maldives efforts, Dr Khetrapal Singh conferred the Excellence in Public Health award to the Ministry of Health, Republic of Maldives on the side lines of the Regional Committee session.
Dr Khetrapal Singh praised the leadership and contribution of Maldives Minister of Health Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim for establishing fully functional primary health centres in every inhabited island, with state-run pharmacies dispense 455 medicines on a national essential drug list free of cost, and sea and land ambulance fleets on stand-by for around the clock for emergencies.
The health insurance scheme is leading to a decline in out-of-pocket expenditure. The Health Ministry’s Quality of Care Framework, with 125 standards, covers everything from infrastructure to the competence of health workers, availability of medicines, patient safety and infection control, continuity of care and patient rights.
The government is also making commendable efforts to combat the growing threat of non-communicable diseases. It has increased import duty on sugary drinks and tobacco products to 58%, the highest tax on energy drinks globally, according to the Regional Director, who joined the Minister of Health in the launch of the Promoting Healthy Lifestyles Campaign against NCD on 11 September.
“Maldives is on an accelerated journey to strengthen its health system. It has been making enormous contributions to the health and well-being of its people as well as the region,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh.
Maldives continues to make commendable efforts, according to Dr Mathur, with the most recent one being plans to set up a medical training college to train nationals as doctors and nurses.
Issued by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Maldives
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