Aasandha is in discussions with the relevant agencies and stakeholders to extend the health scheme’s coverage to include facilities in Thailand and the United Arab Emirate (UAE), the agency has confirmed in a press statement.

While briefing the press following his recent visit to China, President Mohamed Muizzu said he did not want to limit Aasandha, the state-funded scheme, by covering services available within a particular country but would seek to expand to other countries, such as the UAE and Thailand, to cover a wider range of services with better quality.

“…and when we go there, we will hopefully expand Aasandha to include accommodation expenses. Then our people’s, this nation’s, access to health facilities will be much better than the places they go to now, like Dubai and Bangkok with their reputed hospitals, with accommodation expenses, covered by Aasandha, hopefully,” he said.

While there has been some recent media speculation that Aasandha refuses to cover patients going to countries other than India and Sri Lanka, Aasandha’s recent press statement said that such speculation, while untrue, arose from a misattribution to a statement made by Aasandha’s Managing Director, Aminath Zeeniya, during an SOE Committee hearing at Parliament on 12 December last year.

The managing director had, during the hearing, explained that the Muizzu administration had decided to expand Aasandha to more countries but she had failed to identify, at the time, that the decision had not yet been made public, the agency said.