Hospitals at risk of shutdown due to delayed supply orders

The Maldives' hospitals may come to a halt in November due to delays in ordering essential supplies required to provide services, Transitional Spokesperson Mohamed Firuzul Abdulla Khaleel has said.

In the serial news conferences held daily to provide updates on the transitional process as President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu's incoming government prepares to take over administration on November 17, today's press conference primarily focused on the health sector and related concerns.

Firuzul explained that medical supplies are typically procured in bulk twice a year. However, the required equipment for the latter part of this year has not been ordered yet, resulting in some hospitals relying on emergency provisions.

"If this situation continues, by November or mid-November, many of the services provided by these hospitals and health centers are likely to come to a halt," he said.

Firuzul said the items that have not yet been ordered are single-use disposables. Hospitals are having difficulty in purchasing equipment due to lack of budget, he noted.

Firuzul said two specialty centers at the main government hospital, IGMH, are burdened with a US$5.3 million outstanding bill owed to two foreign companies for various consumables and services. With the rest of the year's budget primarily allocated for employee salaries, the hospitals will likely suspend infrastructure and machinery repairs, which could again cause service suspensions.

Regarding the management of healthcare services, Firuzul said the government has created companies to oversee hospital operations and transferred hospitals and health centers under them without the Health Ministry having a significant role and the ministry being accountable. This causes legal issues, and there are disparities in the services provided across hospitals of the same standard, he said, voicing his concern.