The number of Maldivians who seek medical treatment abroad during the year-end school holidays is declining annually, revealed Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA).
According to a survey conducted by the central bank at Velana International Airport's Arrival Hall during December 22 - 28 last year, 1,889 locals had travelled overseas for medical treatment in 2017. This amounts to 45 percent of 4,220 people who had participated in the survey.
The number is significantly lower than the records of 2016 and 2015, which show that 2,281 and 2,247 people respectively had gone abroad for medical aid previously.
However, MMA's survey indicates that the number of Maldivians who visit India for medical needs remains consistent. The results show that 65 percent of the 1,889 locals that sought medical treatment overseas in 2017 had gone to India, while in 2016, 1,312 out of 2,281 people (58 percent) and in 2017, 1,281 out of 2,247 (57 percent) people had also opted for India.
Furthermore, survey results show that Maldivians' expenses on medical treatment in India are also increasing. The records show an average expense of USD 687 per capita in 2017, while the average amounts in 2016 and 2015 were USD 641 and USD 512 per capita respectively.
After India, the most popular destinations amongst Maldivians for medical trips are Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. However statistics indicate that the number of Maldivians going on medical trips to Sri Lanka is also on the decline.