The Ministry of Health, on Sunday, announced that efforts to develop five regional hospitals across the country to tertiary standards are currently underway.
Speaking at a press conference held at the President's Office, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen guaranteed that, once preparations are complete, the hospitals would be equipped to conduct any necessary medical tests and that a sufficient number of specialist doctors would be employed.
The health ministry has decided to spend MVR 480 million for the purpose and aims to conclude the development effort by the end of July.
The five hospitals in question are Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital, Ungoofaaru Regional Hospital, Gan Regional Hospital, Abdul Samad Memorial Hospital and Hithadhoo Regional Hospital.
State Minister for Health Dr Shah Abdullah Mahir revealed plans for each of these hospitals to specialize within a particular field in addition to possessing the capacity to provide all services expected from a tertiary hospital.
Overall, Minister Ameen stated that the objective was to eliminate the need for people to seek medical help in Male' and reduce the burden on the capital's hospitals by ensuring the availability of these services in the atolls.
Despite developmental efforts being focused on the five aforementioned hospitals, the Health Minister revealed plans to further develop a total of ten regional hospitals.
Additionally, work to upgrade health centres in nine islands to hospitals are scheduled to commence during the upcoming two months.
Minister Ameen also revealed that efforts to procure 20 ambulances through the state budget were underway. It is estimated that an additional 21 vehicles will be received through aid.
While other preparations including the creation of call centres and hiring staff are complete, Minister Ameen stated that the shortage of vehicles was the only obstacle to establishing an efficient national ambulance service.