President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that the government will initate a special programme to address infertility and will explore ways to provide assistance for fertility treatments.
He made the announcement during the opening ceremony of the Fertility Centre at Tree Top Hospital.
President Solih said that infertility is a significant challenge in the region, and that fertility issues are prevalent to some extent across Maldives as well. He said that World Bank data highlighted a steady decline in fertility rates in the country.
President Solih further said that this was evident from the increasing number of Maldivians seeking IVF treatments abroad, and announced the government's initiative to tackle this issue through the establishment of a Fertility Care Programme.
“I believe that the introduction of such a program should reflect on the best practices adopted by other countries with similar initiatives, and aim to establish a system that is useful for those who need it the most.”
The President stated that the government is currently working to determine who would be eligible to participate in the Fertility Care Programme and raise awareness about reproductive health through wider dissemination of information. He further stated that efforts are also underway to establish a mechanism to make this programme financially sustainable.
The development of the Fertility Centre at Tree Top Hospital which cost more than a million dollars (MVR 15.4 Million), has set a price of MVR 46,000 for each cycle of IVF treatments. As this treatment is currently not covered by Aasandha; the national health insurance scheme, those who undergo IVF treatments at the hospital would have to bear the expenses on their own.
During the ceremony, President Solih shared the government's efforts to bridge the gap between healthcare facilities and individuals in need of these services. He mentioned that the government was in the process of determining the various ways to extend assistance to those seeking treatments.
The President said that making these services available in the Maldives would save a large portion of the money spend by individuals overseas for treatment and alleviate the burden on the state budget, benefiting the Maldivian economy.
President Solih stated that Tree Top Hospital had earned the trust of the people within the last five years. He said that even though IVF is a newly introduced service in the country, it is an important treatment for Maldivians.
According to the President, the establishment of these services within the Maldives would offer individuals the benefit of receiving treatment without having to sacrifice their jobs, take unpaid leave or endure lengthy separation from their families.
President Solih highlighted the mental challenges faced by couples seeking treatment and expressed hope that the newly established center would bring them joy through easier access to the service and successful treatments. He assured the management of the hospital that the government would fully support the efforts to expand and develop the newly introduced service.
President Solih emphasized the importance of identifying the underlying reasons behind the emergence of health issues such as infertility. He aded that by investigating whether they are linked with diet or lifestyle and identifying the root causes would make it easier to address and solve the problem.