Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director declares Maldives as the first Malaria Free country in the South East Asia Region
The President of Maldives His Excellency President Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayyoom graced the official ceremony where Dr Singh, Regional Director of WHO, South East Asia Region handed over a citation and plaque to Honorable Minister of Health, HE Ms Iruthisham Adam declaring ‘Maldives as Malaria Free’- the first country in the region to successfully attain this status. The official ceremony was attended by cabinet ministers, senior officials from different Government departments, High Commissioners, Partners and various other stakeholders. A photo exhibition showcasing the 50 years of Maldives and WHO partnership was also inaugurated by Dr Singh on this occasion which was then open for public.
The official ceremony of “50 years of Maldives membership of WHO and partnership” was attended by more than 500 participants. Speaking on this occasion, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh commended the country’s leadership and efforts of health workers over several years starting since 1965 and with no case of Malaria being reported since 1982. She commended the measures taken by Maldives to maintain strong epidemiological and entomoloigical surveillence to sustain its malaria free status in the last three decades. Highlighting the achievement, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh congratulated the Government of Maldives and the health sector of the country, adding that Maldives has also completely stopped the transmission of Polio and is close to eradicating Filariasis. Moreover, Dr Singh also stated country did not report any case of Rubella or Measles since 2010 indicating sustained progress towards elimination of these conditions in coming years. She identified Maldives as a “shining example” for other countries in the region and praised the country for its strong political commitment, proficient planning and execution, active community involvement while mentioning WHO as credible and trusted partner.
Acknowledging continuing technical support from WHO; HE Ms Iruthisham Adam, Hon Minister of Health thanked Regional Director for declaring Maldives Malaria freeher presence and support. She noted that WHO plays a significant role in extending assistance to countries to strengthening health system for ensuring delivery of health care services while promoting technical evidence based practices. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Ms Iruthisham presented a memento to Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, thanking the organization for its unparalleled assistance, guidance and support.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh inaugurated a photo exhibition which captured the five decade journey of health in the Maldives and showcased achievements in health, historical developments and the collaboration of Maldives and WHO throughout the years. It also paid tribute to several hundred Health Care workers and leadership at different levels and organizations for their contributions. Dr Singh appreciated the effort of WHO Country Office and Ministry of Health teams for their efforts in putting up such an exemplary exhibition. She thanked HE Minister and her team while assuring that WHO will continue to be a trusted and credible partner with MOH.