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Procurement of ventilators delayed over payment issues: HEOC

Shahudha Mohamed
06 August 2020, MVT 21:28
Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC)’s Spokesperson Dr Nazla Rafeeq (R) speaking at a press briefing held by the centre. PHOTO: HEOC
Shahudha Mohamed
06 August 2020, MVT 21:28

Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) stated late Wednesday that procuring the 75 ventilators from Executors General Trading LLC was delayed due to the company demanding full payment for the ventilators.

Answering a question posed by local media Mihaaru during HEOC’s press conference, the centre’s spokesperson and Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq explained that the Ministry of Health was conducting negotiations to acquire the ventilators prior to completing the full payment.

The state has already paid MVR 30 million for the ventilators, ordered from the Dubai company under World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendation. The full price for the ventilators stands at MVR 34 million.

Although 75 percent of the payment has been settled, only 10 of the 75 ventilators have been procured so far. However, according to local media reports, none of these 10 ventilators fit the requirement for treating COVID-19 patients.

The incumbent administration had earlier assured that Maldives will receive the ventilators by the end of May at the latest, but no further updates were given despite the two-month delay.

As part of the ongoing COVID-19 response, the state has signed agreements with three different companies to acquire a total of 149 ventilators, including 24 ventilators from Naadu Pvt Ltd and 50 ventilators from MedTech Maldives Pvt Ltd, in addition to the 75 ventilators from Executors General Trading LLC.

At present, HEOC asserted that Maldives has 124 ventilators that can be utilised.

A marked increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases occurred after the state eased lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region. The government initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' in response to a sustained decrease of cases in May and early June.

The total percentage of recovered patients has fallen from the peak 86 to 60 percent due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

Maldives currently records total 4,594 confirmed and 1,869 active COVID-19 cases, along with 2,706 recoveries and 19 deaths.

On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 19 million people and claimed over 711,600 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 12.1 million people have recovered.

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