Health Minister to be summoned to Gender committee this week

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem will be summoned to the Parliament's Gender and Human Rights Committee this week.

Minister Naseem is being summoned to the committee regarding the death of 10-year old Fathimath Mishka Mohamed, Maldives' youngest victim to pass away due to COVID-19.

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 on May 31, 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 on June 1, making her the Maldives' youngest COVID-19 victim to date.

Naseem was previously summoned to the committee on June 7th, but the minister requested additional time to gather more detailed information regarding the case. During the meeting, Naseem said the Health Ministry had already prepared a detailed report on Mishka's death. However, the investigation is still not complete and there are several aspects that need to be investigated, he had said.

Naseem said Mishka's death was the result of negligent practices by the ministry, and the same policies have been followed for the past one and a half years. The gaps in the policies were not given attention, and in most cases goes unnoticed if a controversy does not occur, said the minister. Stating that it is not appropriate to speak on the matter before the investigation is concluded, Minister Naseem said authorities must dwell deeper into the matter. Therefore, more time is needed to answer to the Parliament regarding the incident, said the minister.

Granting his request, Committee Chair MP Jeehan Mahmood gave him one week to return with detailed information. However, the minister was not summoned even after the seven-day duration passed.

The committee's Vice-Chairperson, Vaikaradhoo MP Hussain Ziyad told AVAS that Naseem would be summoned to the committee sometime this month. However, he did not provide an exact date. He further said that the committee attempted to arrange a meeting last Thursday, however, the arrangements could not be made due to different reasons.

The Health Ministry has said the protocols followed on the night of Mishka's death were not in line with the guidelines for emergency response. Ambulance deployment was not triggered according to protocol, and 2 hours and 26 minutes passed before the trigger was activated, the report said.