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Reducing health expenses is personal responsibility: Minister Khaleel

Health Minister stated that reducing expenditure on health treatments is a responsibility that lies in one's own hands. He expressed concerns over the rising number of youth that succumb to smoking as well as the e-cigarettes that have capture their fancy.

Aishath Shuba Solih
11 June 2024, MVT 22:02
Health minister Dr. Khaleel
Aishath Shuba Solih
11 June 2024, MVT 22:02

Minister of Health Dr Mohamed Khaleel, stated last night that while it is said that the government spends significant amounts on healthcare, the responsibility for reducing these expenses ultimately rests in everyone's hands.

Speaking at the ceremony held in Noonu atoll Manadhoo to commemorate World No-Tobacco Day, Minister Khaleel stated that with the surge in diseases, burden on the state's finances have increased as a result.

However, Minister Khaleel assured that the solution is not too far out of reach.

"The solution is in our hands. It's not too far away. We should seize this solution. By doing so, families will be spared from the numerous expenses, challenges, tragedies, and harm they may face," said Khaleel.

During this ceremony, a campaign to prevent children from smoking, named 'Dhafaraa,' was introduced. A statement released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to commemorate World No-Tobacco Day, celebrated on May 31, revealed that much work needs to be done in the country to protect children from smoking.

[File] A smoker putting out a cigarette.

The Dhafaraa campaign aims to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking among youth while empowering parents to take the necessary steps to keep their children away from smoking.

HPA added that products such as electronic cigarettes and nicotine pouches are becoming increasingly popular among children and youth, through advertisements on social media and streaming platforms. Citing statistics from two years back, 37 million children aged between 15 and 16 participate some form of smoking globally, they said.

HPA's statement revealed that 400 million cigarettes worth MVR 1.8 billion (USD 116.7 million) are imported into the country every year. Minister Khaleel emphasized that this sum could be used to build nine hospitals.

He emphasized that smoking often begins at a young age and highlighted that although vapes, which children are often seen with, may not be a major concern for households, their prevalence has become widespread.

He further noted that some countries around the world have started banning e-cigarettes due to the increasing dangers they pose, and he appealed for children to stay away from vapes, sheeshas, and other forms of tobacco.

"Smoking cigarettes and sheesha is not at all cool. Building ourselves, engaging with the community, and striving to become someone of substance; that is cool," said the Minister.