Delays in collecting samples of first COVID-19 death, admits NEOC

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Monday admitted there were delays in collecting the sample of the first person who passed away due to COVID-19 in the Maldives.

An 83 year old woman, Aiminath Ali passed away on April 29, and her husband succumbed to the same illness a few days after her. Her case was linked to case 126, and the family had accused there were delays in collecting her sample and treating her. Her results were received after she had already passed away. The Health Ministry has been investigating the accusations.

Speaking at NEOC's daily press briefing on Monday, Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said the Health Ministry's Quality Improvement Division is always monitoring any issues that arise in providing health services to the public. The division looked into the death of Aiminath Ali and reported their findings, which found that there were some delays in providing services to the deceased patient, and raised several issues that need to be immediately addressed. Dr. Nazla admitted there were several delays in collecting Aminath Ali's sample as well as delays in receiving the results of her test.

"Some delays have been noted. There were delays in collecting samples, and especially in receiving the result. Additional procedures have been established to address this issue. From here forward, if any elderly people are linked to any positive case, their samples will be collected although no symptoms of the illness are exhibited, and the processes will be expedited," said the doctor.

When asked if there was any negligence on the part of any entity or employee in relation to Aminath Ali's case, Dr. Nazla said the report prepared by the Quality Improvement Division made no mention of negligence.

Dr. Nazla further pointed out the need to ensure that phone calls made to 1676 COVID-19 hotline are immediately answered and attended.