Nolhivaram transports patients in pickups amid Covid-19 crisis with no ambulances in the island

Covid-19 patients being transported on a pickup in Nolhivaram | Photo: Mohamed Hussain

HDh. Nolhivaram, Maldives – Covid-19 patients are being transported in HDh. Nolhivaram on a pickup due to the unavailability of an ambulance in the area.

The island was initially placed under lockdown on August 28 following 7 positive cases within the island. Since then, the island has recorded 109 cases of Covid-19 and the situation continues to deteriorate.

A media coordinator from the Island Council Mohamed Musthafa said that the council is working tirelessly with the relevant authorities to bring the situation under control.

In addition to this, Musthafa revealed that the ambulance in the island has been broken down for 6 months and that is in need of repair. He said that Covid-19 patients are being transported on cycles and pickups. Along with, healthcare workers are also collecting Covid-19 samples on their personal cycles.

While several people including old aged people and kids are testing positive for the disease, lack of staff at the health center is also causing many difficulties for the citizens of the island.

Additionally, Musthafa noted several issues including the lack of police officers at the police station. He noted there are 5 employees at the station out of which, one has tested positive for Covid-19. He added that additional policemen are needed to maintain the safety and security of the island.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Friday, confirmed additional 179 Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours. In the statistics released by HPA, it was detailed that out of the 179 cases, 42 were from the Malé area, while 120 cases were recorded from inhabited islands indicating an increasing number of cases in the islands.

Health Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem At the beginning of June, an agreement was signed between the Ministries of Health, Finance and the State Trading Organization (STO), which involved acquiring 96 ambulances to serve needs across the archipelago, as in Minister Naseem’s words, “the bringing of such ambulances would expand ambulance services within the islands, thus ending [one of the] major issues faced by people living in these islands”.

While the agreement with STO states that they are to deliver the 96 ambulances within 180 days, Health Minister Naseem has previously given several dates for which the ambulances were to be received.

Helath Minister Naseem also stated on June 22 that the ministry commenced work to establish a special ambulance service agency in the country.