The proposed State Budget 2019 warned of the discontinuation of the national healthcare scheme 'Aasandha' due to an increase in uncontrollable expenditure.
The budget, which was submitted to the parliament on Tuesday by Minister of Finance and Treasury Ahmed Munawar, revealed that 40 percent of medical treatments are sought at hospitals located in capital Male', which cost more than regional and atoll hospitals.
The report highlighted that people were utilizing the scheme more than the required amount. It noted that the lack of a system to record the treatments financed by the scheme resulted in mishaps such as treatment records being duplicated. The report revealed a standard treatment guideline will be implemented in the following year to help solve the issue.
As compared with inpatients and outpatients, the report documented that 143 people were admitted out of every 1,000 and that people sought treatments at the hospital at an average of 5.6 times annually.
The report also noted that pharmaceuticals in Maldives were 15-75 percent more expensive compared to the prices abroad. The report stated that, in order to lower the amount spent on pharmaceuticals, Maldives will purchase medicine in bulk, promote the use of generic drugs and implement a co-payment mechanism in the following year.
If these reforms are not brought within the next year, state expenditure on providing healthcare will grow out of control and will eventually lead to discontinuation of the scheme, the state budget warned. The report revealed that as the youth population of the country ages, it will increase the expenditure of healthcare in the future.
The Finance Ministry stated that it believes the country can sustain its growth in healthcare if the country prepared and solved the issue beforehand, and maintained state expenditure at a level where it did not pose a burden on the state budget.