Emergency motion submitted regarding the absence of an ambulance in HDh. Nolhivaram amid deteriorating Covid-19 crisis

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

Malé, Maldives – The MP of Nolhivaram Mohamed Nasheed Abdulla (Mosta) has submitted an emergency motion to the parliament to investigate the absence of an ambulance in his constituency despite the escalating Covid-19 crisis.

In his motion, MP Nasheed asked to probe into why Nolhivaram Medical Center is not equipped with an ambulance as Covid-19 cases has risen to 202.

The Nolhivaram MP highlighted that transporting Covid-19 patients with a pickup as currently practiced is not a safe option and requested the parliament to find a solution. He urged the authorities to get an ambulance for Nolhivaram island at the earliest possible date.

HDh. Nolhivaram island was initially placed under lockdown on August 28 following 7 positive cases within the island. Since then, the island has recorded 202 cases of Covid-19 and the situation continues to deteriorate.

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. 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.

Health Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Naseem stated at the beginning of June 2021, that 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; 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.

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