The government has announced it is to start a sea ambulance service within two months and expand it nationwide within the year, Haveeru has reported.
In a press conference held to announce the service, Ministry of Defense Mohamed Nazim said it will be initially launched for four regions and later expanded to twenty three zones, covering the whole country. According to Haveeru, the service will be covered under the Aasandha national health insurance scheme.
“The objective is to take patients to a health center instead of bring them to Malé,” Nazim was quoted as saying.
Speed boats under the Ministry of Health, Maldives Police Services and Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) are to be converted into ‘sea-ambulances’ for the service, with enough space for patients and necessary health equipment.
Quoting Health Minister Mariyam Shakeela, Haveeru reported that to this day a health ambulance service was not provided properly and only six out of twenty six speed boats owned by the ministry were usable.
The service will be begin with a government allocated budget, but will depend on funding from the United Nations and the Red Crescent, Shakeela was quoted as saying. According to the minister, the service will create new jobs, where employees will be well trained and covered by a special insurance scheme.
The MNDF will be managing the ambulances and emergency operations will be carried out by MNDF area commands.