President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Thursday, assured that the government prioritizes providing quality and accessible healthcare to the citizens.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony of the summit held with former Ministers of Health, President Solih highlighted various issues with the current state of the Maldivian health sector.
The president stated that the complaints and challenges regarding the health sector have not decreased despite the progress attained in comparison with the past.
Noting that progress in the health sector was limited due to all the facilities being centralised in Greater Male' area, President Solih listed issues such as lack of health facilities in atolls, long waiting periods to consult specialists, shortage of experienced healthcare personnel, and absence of a quality-control system for imported prescription drugs.
"There are many challenges linked to every one of these complaints. Centralisation is the root cause of all these challenges", he said.
He guaranteed that his administration will provide solutions and ease to the citizens of Maldives.
Moreover, the president declared that corruption was prevalent in Aasandha, the national healthcare insurance scheme. He iterated that there was proof of such acts involved in the rigorous process of providing basic medical supplies such as IV and Penadol to health centres all over Maldives.
"A large portion of state funds is wasted due to this", he said.
He expressed his belief that a solution could be reached with the expertise of former health ministers. He also conveyed gratitude for the invaluable services of former ministers to the country, especially in times of epidemics and widespread disease.
"The health sector in Maldives progressed due to the major important steps taken by the ministers".
Current Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen stated that sitting down with the most formidable figures in the field was a huge stroke of luck.
Out of 18 individuals who filled the post of health minister to date, 13 are alive today. Those participating in the summit include the first female minister Moomina Haleem, Mohamed Musthafa Hussain, Ahmed Abdulla, Aneesa Ahmed, Dr Aminath Jameel, Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, Dr Mariyam Shakeela, Ahmed Zuhoor, Iruthisham Adam, and Ahmed Nazim.
"I believe their priceless experiences are a national treasure", Minister Ameen said.
Modern medicine was introduced to Maldives in 1931 through 'Voaraa' businessmen. The first local practitioner, Dr Abdulla Abdul Hakeem, began providing services 33 years after the establishment of the first hospital in 1948. Modern medicine spread to the atolls from 1960 onwards.