Opposition coalition's presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) pledged to enforce better mental health treatment, and enact easier treatment procedures via the 'Aasandha' healthcare scheme in Maldives, should he win the upcoming election.
While speaking at a campaign stop in Velidhoo, Noonu Atoll, Ibu stressed the grievous importance of recognizing individuals with mental illnesses in Maldives. He further revealed his plans of establishing a 'National Mental Health Institute', in an opposition-led government, which will offer quality treatment for its patients.
"We will recognize the importance of mental illnesses, and its treatment will be covered under 'Aasandha'", said Ibu.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are small in number in comparison to other specialist doctors in Maldives which leads to a long waiting period for consultations. Moreover, the therapy required for patients with mental illnesses are extremely expensive and are not covered under 'Aasandha'. If any patient wishes to receive financial aid for mental health therapy, they are required to present a doctor's letter to National Social Protection Agency (NSPA).
Ibu revealed his plans to introduce and implement laws pertaining to proper mental health treatment, should he win the upcoming election. However, he did not state any further details of his plans.
According to the Ministry of Health, an estimated MVR 3.3 million was spent in 2016 for mental health treatment under the 'Aasandha' scheme, while state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) recorded over 5,000 patients seeking treatment for mental illnesses.
Continuing his speech, Ibu highlighted the lack of paramedics available throughout different areas of Maldives and assured an easier procedure for patients requiring immediate care. He pledged to establish a 'National Ambulance' system to supplement the shortage of paramedics.
"We will provide ambulance services to all parts of Maldives, which will be set to provide its services via land, sea and air. Additionally, we will ensure easy access to paramedics. God willing, we will achieve these goals in an opposition-led government", Ibu stated.
Ibu also shed light on recognizing the importance of better treatment to individuals with special needs, and assured proper care and medical treatment will be provided from their infancy.
"Advanced medical treatment should be given to individuals with special needs. As well as make other medical treatments easily accessible to them", said Ibu.
Annexing his speech, Ibu stated the importance of providing better medical services to thalassemia patients and vowed to arrange easy access to carry out blood transfusions.
Ibu also revealed plans to establish and develop four main, innovative hospitals throughout the Maldives. These hospitals are to have state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as properly trained specialist doctors that can supplement patients with life threatening conditions.