HEOC streamlines protocols following10-year-old's death

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) has stated that authorities have taken additional measures to rectify the situation that led to the death of COVID-19 victim, Fathmath Mishka Mohamed.

Mishka was in quarantine with her family after testing positive for COVID-19 and was doing well. According to the family, Mishka's condition started deteriorating last Tuesday, and the family called for an ambulance around 9:00 pm. However, the ambulance arrived almost 3 hours later around 11:40 pm. Mishka was not conscious by the time she was finally taken to the hospital. She passed away in IGMH's ER at 12:10 am, making her the Maldives' youngest COVID-19 victim to date.

The Health Ministry probed the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC)'s handling of the case, and the initial findings of the investigation have been publicized. Details of negligence and mishandling linked to Mishka's case were brought to light in the preliminary report. Authorities are taking steps to avoid such an event from recurring in the future.

A spokesperson at the President's Office, Mohamed Mabrook Azeez said steps will be taken over three stages based on the findings of the Health Ministry's report. This includes enhancing the process in place for answering calls directed to HEOC's call center and other protocols that the call center must follow. According to the new changes, emergency phone calls must not be disconnected and the call must be passed to the movement team.

When attending to emergency cases, ambulances must be deployed at the earliest. To achieve this, coordination must be improved, the center noted. The protocols regarding the use of HEOC's OB system to ensure smooth coordination must therefore be enhanced. If the system in place fails, a backup protocol will also be established as a safety mechanism, said HEOC. This includes designating walk-in services at specific hospitals for COVID-19 patients as well as establishing centers at which OPD services can be offered to COVID-19 patients.