Northern islands concerned over limitations in accessibility to health services

Residents of the northern atolls of the Maldives are voicing concern after the two islands with the region’s biggest hospitals were placed under the Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s monitoring mechanism.

Residents of northern atolls frequent to hospitals in Kulhudhuffushi City in HDh. Atoll and Ungoofaaru Hospital in Raa atoll for healthcare. While entry and exit have been restricted from both islands due to positive cases of COVID-19, medical care is being sought from the hospital in Sh. Fonadhoo and B. Eydhafushi.

A person speaking from Fonadhoo said the hospital’s anesthesiologist is currently on leave, and no other anesthesiologists are available at the hospital. The island’s healthcare status is a matter of concern, he added. An official who works at B. Eydhafushi Council Office said the number of people seeking medical care from Eydhafushi Hospital will increase with the restrictions imposed on Ungoofaaru and Kulhudhuffushi. However, the hospital has limitations, and some services cannot be provided without constraints, he said. Therefore, it is important to arrange accessible healthcare in other big islands in the region, he said.

Speaking to AVAS, the Resident of Ungoofaaru Council said although the island has positive cases of COVID-19, the island’s overall situation is normal. Therefore, it is likely that the monitoring mechanisms will be removed later this month or early next month. Nasir said over 400 people sought seek medical services at the regional hospital on the island prior to the COVID-19 situation. Despite the current restrictions, dialysis services and emergency services for accidents and trauma will still be provided at the regional hospital for people from other islands, said Nasir.

Manager of Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital Ahmed Dawud said a similar number of people from other islands sought medical services from the regional hospital on the island prior to the OCVID-19 situation. Acknowledging the concerns of residents of northern atolls, Dawud said efforts are ongoing to overcome the current situation in the city. Currently, only tele-consultation services are being provided to patients from other islands.