One of the two stamps stolen from Addu City Dhamana Veshi in Maradhoo-Feydhoo was recovered and handed over to Maldives Police Service on Tuesday morning.
The institution's official stamp and vaccination stamp were stolen on December 24, 2019, raising concern amongst the general public. Health professionals speculated that these stamps may be used on vaccine cards of children who did not receive the immunization shots.
Council member of Nadella, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Faisal Najeeb confirmed that the official stamp of Addu City Dhamana Veshi was found on a neighbouring uninhabited island last Saturday. However, the vaccination stamp is yet to be recovered.
Faisal did not reveal further information as Police are currently investigating the case.
Local media Aafathis reported that an employee of Nadella Council found the stamp while he was on a picnic to the uninhabited island with his family and handed the stamp over to the island council after returning to Nadella.
Addu City Dhamana Veshi was robbed three times during the past year, amidst island chatter that unvaccinated kids were enrolled and studying at Hira School located in Hithadhoo.
A source from news outlet Addu Live told The Edition that the issue was reported to Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 2019. According to the source, Hira School's management was questioned over the accusations but has maintained deniability.
As per an employee from Addu City Dhamana Veshi, various items were stolen from the administrative section of the healthcare centre over the three robberies, including a CPU, a monitor, two keyboards and MVR 1,800 in addition to the two stamps.
He expressed concern over the stamp theft, adding that there was a very real possibility that the perpetrators were using the stamps on vaccine cards of unvaccinated children, as there was no other reason to steal the stamps.
He also noted that no other items were stolen or moved during the last robbery, stating that this meant the perpetrators were specifically targeting the stamps.
Three councillors from Addu City declined to comment on the situation, claiming they had no knowledge of the theft.
All necessary vaccines must be administrated and the vaccine card must be submitted as proof to enrol children in school.
This is a preventive measure to ensure students are not exposed to the risk of infectious diseases via unvaccinated children.
After being declared as a measles-free country by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 2017, authorities recently announced that two suspected cases of measles tested positive. Health Protection Agency (HPA) later confirmed that the 3-year-old child who tested positive was not administered the complete dose of required vaccination.
HPA urged to administer vaccinations to protect against the disease and stressed the importance of completing the full dosage.
Measles is highly contagious and can spread through coughing and sneezing. While the most well-known symptom of the disease is a 'blotchy rash', other indicators include high fever, runny nose, cough, eye discharge and white spots inside the mouth. If left untreated, measles can be fatal.