Malé, Maldives – The World Health Organization (WHO) has handed over cold chain and laboratory supplies to the Ministry of Health Maldives today, to strengthen pandemic response and support the building of a resilient health system in the country.
At a virtual ceremony, WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, handed over the supplies to the Minister of Health of Maldives Ahmed Naseem, in order to build a modern cold chain system for Covid-19 and other vaccines, ultimately strengthening the quality of care, and sustaining the quality testing for Covid-19 and other diseases such as measles, rubella and Influenza.
With WHO’s contributions, Maldives has made significant progress in its healthcare and development indicators over the past decades. Being a small island nation, Maldives is vulnerable to the impacts of socio economic transformations and environmental challenges. As such, it is imperative that we prioritize increasing our capacity for protecting health in an unstable and changing climate.Ahmed Naseem, Minister of Health of Maldives
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh also highlighted that despite the country’s global connectedness and population density in capital Male, Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country have been three times below the global average mortality per million population.
She further added that Maldives spends 10% of GDP on health – the highest allocation in the Region – and provides government-funded comprehensive health insurance to every Maldivian.
I am certain that Maldives’ commitment to adequate and efficient public health financing will continue to be a core feature of its efforts to achieve UHC, a flagship priority in the Region and the target that underpins Sustainable Development Goal 3. I look forward to Maldives’ ongoing regional and global leadership throughout the vaccine roll-out and in the recovery from the crisis and commend leaders on their commitment to build a caring state and to implement the Strategic Action Plan in letter and spirit.WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh
WHO expects that this hand-over will build on the country’s achievements by facilitating Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and ensure that Maldives can maintain its progress in other important areas of work, including strengthening TB, measles and rubella surveillance.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has been working with Maldives government and partners for implementing scenario-based responses effectively. With the help of WHO-provided test kits, Maldives has tested a staggering 75% of its population. Cold chain equipment donated is adequate to support vaccine management for the next 10 years.