Rights commission expresses concern over condition of Hulhumale' Medical Facility

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has voiced its concern over the condition of the Hulhumale' Medical Facility.

Hulhumale' Medical Facility was established to provide treatment to those who test positive for COVID-19 and is operated under state-run hospital, Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). The facility is headed by the CEO of Hulhumale' Hospital. While several complaints regarding the facility's services and condition has been circulating on different media platforms, HRCM on May 25 visited the facility to assess the situation.

A two-page report on the findings of their visit were published by HRCM on Thursday. According to the report, the number of nurses at the facility is not adequate to cater to the large number of patients admitted at the facility and their medical condition. The shortage in nurses have caused tremendous challenges in providing the necessary services to patients, the report said.

While nurses work closely with patients, the shortage in nursing staff as well as the daily influx of new patients admitted at the facility hinders efforts to provide timely updates on patient condition and services provided to their families, the report noted. The report also noted that the items that are brought to the facility by the families of the patients are not handed over to the patients in a timely manner. It also noted concerns over the meals provided to the sick.

Noting further that the presence of bystanders who are allowed at the facility to take care of bed-ridden patients adds to the congestion at the facility, HPA's guidelines and social distancing measures are not properly implemented in the medical wards, the report said. It also noted concerns that while the mental well-being of staff working at the facilities are affected, the necessary mental support is not provided. Furthermore, the support staff at the facility continuously work seven days a week for over 12 hours, and there are issues regarding the payment of their wages.

HRCM said the issues noted will be lodged as complaints and will be investigated further.

The Maldives is currently experiencing an alarming surge in infections. The country's tally has crossed 60,000 and the number of deaths is at 155. The month of May has been particularly devastating, with more COVID-19 deaths recorded in May 2021 than the combined number of all COVID-19 deaths in 2020. Health care professionals are overwhelmed and there is a shortage of nurses at medical facilities.