President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu has urged the current government to postpone an agreement with an Indian company for the importation of medicines and medical supplies. The request comes amidst concerns over the availability of essential equipment in Maldivian hospitals and potential interruptions in services at healthcare centres.

The transitional committee for President-elect Muizzu has been actively reviewing the status and challenges across multiple government agencies and departments. They have particularly expressed concerns about the medical equipment required for Maldivian hospitals not being ordered for the rest of the year. According to the committee, some healthcare centres are running out of essential items, leading to difficulties in providing services.

Concerns have been raised about the financial stability of the health sector, particularly the Heart and Kidney care centre at the government’s largest hospital, IGMH, where debt has soared US$5.3 million, thereby risking the continuity of these essential services.

Despite these concerns, the current government, through their spokesperson Miuvan Mohamed, assured that healthcare services would not be interrupted. Drawing attention to the continuity of services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government called for restraint against spreading “rumours” that could cause public fear and anxiety.

President-elect Muizzu’s spokesman Mohamed Firuzul Abdulla Haleel announced at a recent press conference that the incoming administration is concerned about the pace at which an agreement for importing medical supplies is being finalised. The deal in question involves the State Trading Organisation (STO) and a company based in Tamil Nadu, India, aimed at supplying various medicines and related supplies to the Maldives.

The State Trading Organisation (STO), for its part, has denied being in the process of signing any such agreement with the Tamil Nadu company, stating, “We hereby inform that the STO is not attempting to sign any such agreement at this time, and that we have yet to be instructed by anyone to stop such a deal.”

While the government assures the continuity of healthcare services, the transitional committee under President-elect Muizzu insists that a cautious approach is required, especially in matters as sensitive as international agreements on medical supplies.