The Chinese government’s hospital ship, ‘Peace Ark’, is visiting the Maldives as part of its eight nation ‘Mission Harmony’ tour.
The vessel is the world’s largest dedicated hospital ship with 300 beds and eight operating theatres.
Doctors from the ship will work on eight islands across the country in addition to Male, including Guraidhoo, Rasdhoo (Alif Alif Atoll), Mahibadhoo (Alif Dhaalu), Kulhudhuffushi (Haa Dhaalu ), Fuvahmulah (Gnaviyani Atoll), Eydhafushi (Baa Atoll) Villingili (Gaafu Alifu Atoll) and Addu City in the south.
The vessel’s medical team will also conduct training of local health care workers, as well as attend local orphanages and nursing homes.
Indian media have reacted warily to the presence of the vessel, noting that this was the first Chinese interest in the Maldivian healthcare sector that has been dominated by India.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), the troubled state-owned hospital in Male, was donated to the Maldives by the Indian government.
“The Maldives National Defence Force stated that China’s ‘Peace Ark’ will provide better medical facilities than IGMH. Ironically, it will be at IGMH that the Chinese Army’s medical staff will be treating patients,” reported the Indian Express.