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Maldives increases salary to combat anesthesiologist shortage

Lamya Abdulla
18 November 2021, MVT 13:00
(FILE) Health Minister Ahmed Naseem at a press conference held in President's Office on June 8, 2021: Naseem said after dicussing the lack of available anesthesiologists with Finance Ministry, they have decided to increase their salaries for a temporary period -- Photo: President's Office
Lamya Abdulla
18 November 2021, MVT 13:00

Maldives increases the salary to combat the shortage anesthesiologist available.

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem told Mihaaru News on Tuesday that regional and atoll hospitals all over the country lack 10 anesthesiologists. So far they have interviewed eight doctors for this position.

The salaries of anesthesiologists have been temporarily increased in the hope of filling these positions soon.

The lack of available anesthesiologist has delayed medical procedures in various hospitals. These include the hospitals in Raa Atoll, Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, Meemu Atoll, and Laamu Atoll. Some hospitals have not had an anesthesiologist for over two months.

According to the ministry, these hospitals often face difficulty in filling up these positions. The ministry will ensure they send anesthesiologists to these hospitals soon though.

"We have brought a change to their salaries after discussing the issue with Finance Ministry. We have decided to temporarily increase their salaries. This isn't a permanent change. We are working toward a permanent solution," Naseem said.

Finance Ministry said that the salaries of the new anesthesiologists were increased for the next four months. The ministry did not disclose the details of the changes.

An anesthesiologist gets MVR 30,990 monthly, with an added MVR 425 for everyday they go into work. With the allowances added up, they often receive MVR 39,900 every month.

An anesthesiologist told Mihaaru that salaries are often why this issue

An anesthesiologist told Mihaaru that the biggest obstacle in finding doctors for the field is the low salaries. He noted that anesthesiologist will not be available unless this issue is resolved.

A doctor wishing to remain anonymous said very few doctors are interested in pursuing anesthesia even among young doctors that complete MBBS. They noted this issue is not prioritised at a policy level.

A special allowance was introduced for anesthesiologist during former President Mohamed Waheed's administration to address the lack of anesthesiologist. This allowance was later halted due to complaints from doctors in other fields.