Ministry of Health Maldives gets WHO Excellence in Public Health Award
Male, Maldives, 8 September 2017 – The Ministry of Health Maldives has been conferred Excellence in Public Health award by WHO South-East Asia Region.
“The award is an acknowledgement of the significant achievements of the Ministry of Health. Maldives is on an accelerated journey to strengthen its health system. It has been making enormous contributions to health and wellbeing of its people as well as the Region,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said while giving the award to Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, Minister of Health Maldives, at a function last evening.
Dr Khetrapal Singh lauded the leadership and contribution of Mr Ibrahim to Maldives’ successes in health.
Maldives spends 9% of its GDP on health, the highest in the Region. It has established fully functional primary health centres in every inhabited island, backed by both sea and land ambulance fleets for timely referrals in emergencies. State-run pharmacies have been set up in every inhabited island, which dispense 455 medicines on national essential drug list free of cost.
The health insurance scheme is leading to decline in out-of-pocket expenditure. The Health Ministry’s Quality of Care Framework, with 125 standards, covers everything from infrastructure to the competence of health workers, availability of medicines, patient safety and infection control, continuity of care and patient rights.
To combat the growing threat of non-communicable diseases, the government has been making commendable efforts, one of them being 58% increase in import duty and tax on sugary drinks and tobacco products. This is the highest tax on sweetened drinks globally, the Regional Director said.
The Award for Excellence in Public Health, given annually, recognizes the contributions of an individual, an institution or a programme that has made significant difference to the improvement of health and well-being of the people in their countries.