The ministry of health and family has announced a 15 year agreement with Apollo Hospital Group to manage Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’.
The deal was signed on behalf of the government by Health Minister Dr Aminath Jameel and Dr Preetha Reddy, who represented Apollo Hospital Group.
Apollo estimates it will need to spend US$25 million to bring the hospital up to global standards, according to the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper.
A statement released by the ministry claimed the objective of the deal is to improve health services while keeping prices stable.
Apollo Hospital Group was first established in 1983, and is now considered the third largest private healthcare provider in the world. The company currently administrates 8,000 beds and has plans to reach 15,000 beds, reports the Economic Times.
Apollo is expected to make an assessment of the hospital’s needs in the first three months, and plans to offer orthopedics, cardiology, gastro, neurology and acute care and trauma specialities in the first phase of the privatisation deal. The hospital will set up and operate a cardiology unit within the year, the health ministry added.
Chairman of the privatisation committee Mahmood Razee said one of the first changes to be made by Apollo would be to management.
“The major issue was that the management structure [at IGMH] was not working properly, this led to high costs and some services and medicines not being available. The overall qaulity of service went down,” he said.
“Over the next three months there will be structural changes to management changes at IGMH, and an evaluation plan will be submitted as well. Apollo group gives IGMH the advantage of economies of scale, which will lower the overall running costs.”
The hospital’s new management group has also revealed its intentions to make 80% of its employees Maldivian over a 15 year period, although it was unclear as to how this would be achieved given the lack of medical higher education facilities in the country.
Another objective the ministry noted was to ensure that all employees are treated within the correct employment regulations set by the government.
Razee noted that the deal was not part of the government’s public-private partnership scheme.
A doctor working at IGMH said staff were unable to comment on the deal “because we haven’t been officially informed yet. All the information we have received has come through the media.”