Departing doctors leave IGMH unable to provide outpatient services to children

An acute lack of pediatric specialists in Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has forced the hospital to temporarily close outpatient services for children, who make up 40 percent of the hospital’s patients.

Zubair Mohamed, Managing Director of Male’ Health Services Corporation – formerly the Chief Executive Officer of IGMH – said that there were only four pediatricians left after many left claiming to have family and personal problems, while others departed on vacation.

Zubair said that low wages and poor allowances were leading doctors to resign and return to their own countries.

”Most of the good doctors we have are from India,” Zubair said.

”They get almost the same salary as if they worked in India, so it’s not worth it for them to work here.”

A recent salary increase for doctors in India has made it even harder for the Maldives to attract and retain qualified medical staff.

Zubair said that the remaining four pediatricians were now working 24 hours on-call in the emergency and IPD units.

”Forty percent of the patients who come to the hospital are children,” Zubair said. ”They are a large group of patients.”

He said that patients hospitalised were now being given more priority than the patients who visited for diagnosis or treatment.

A pediatrician and a second doctor – a talented psychiatric specialist – left the hospital last week on vacation and have not returned.

”They usually leave saying that they have family and personal issues,” Zubair said. ”Only a few directly say that they cannot work for the low salary.”

As a consequence there would be no outpatient pediatric services available this week, he said.

”Hopefully we will get new pediatricians for the hospital very soon and restart services,” Zubair said. ”We need at least six doctors.”

Future of IGMH

When IGMH begins running as a corporation the salaries of doctors will rise and allowances will increase, Zubair promised.

”Right now all the doctors classed are civil servants, ” he explained, ”so we have to follow the regulations of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and cannot provide them the allowances and salary as we would prefer.”

He said the new corporation had held a meeting with the CSC and discussed the matter, and estimated that it would take three months to start IGMH as a health services corporation.

Spokesperson for the CSC Fahmy Hassan said that the Male’ Health Corporation had held a meeting with the commission but ”it was not to discuss the doctor salaries.”

Fahmy said the commission in January asked the Finance Ministry how much they would be able to pay for the doctors salary and said that the commission was not legally authorised to pay any salary the commission wanted.

”We are now paying them the highest possible salary the Finance Ministry has agreed to give,” he said. ”We cannot pay a salary Finance Ministry disagrees with.”

Press secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair said that the government had nothing to do with the CSC’s code of salary.

”The government will try to solve the problem somehow,” he said.

He said that the salaries of the doctors will increase when IGMH starts running under Male’ Health Corporation, “which was the main reason why we established it,” he said.Permanent Secretary for the Finance Ministry Ismail Shafeeq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


13 thoughts on “Departing doctors leave IGMH unable to provide outpatient services to children”

  1. Dhivehi politicians have always had machinations to undermine Dhivehi doctors and loose public trust in them.This tradition is vehemently pursued with democratic politicians who are in power now.They think Maldivian doctors are worth a coconut.Look for example the first ever Maldivian subspecialty doctors salary.And Zubairs talk about salary rise is just twisting coconut fibres around the neck of Maldivian doctors.

  2. Nothing is Maldives will improve until upper class Maleans really wanted to. At the moment they don't give a toss about IGMH. They will simply fly to overseas for even minor issues. These are the people in power and they are not affected whatever the state of our hospitals or schools or any other facilities really. They don't envisage getting these services from the 'lowly' rates Maldives ever as they see themselves too big and important to receive services from the same places as ordinary Maldivians. Until this culture changes I do not expect real improvements coming.

  3. Hmmm... just thinking how many millions the Islamic Ministry got allocated which they use to build expensive mosques and inviting preachers from abroad - what about spending this money on the health sector - after all we have to set priorities... IGMH has so far been given great service

  4. "Press secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair said that the government had nothing to do with the CSC’s code of salary." Then what has been happening with the Civil Service salaries. Was it not the Fianance Ministry that had decided not to reinstate the Civil Service salary, even after a court ruling. Is not the Finance Ministry a government ministry?

  5. Maldivians have a culture of medical tourism. Visiting hospital abroad is leisure for them. No one can stop it. A big medical facility is not viable in Maldives. India and Sri Lanka is too close and every one will go these countries as a part of leisure and medical.
    For a small country like us we need an innovative medical care system, probably health insurance policy with Indian Hospital to treat big medical issues and a small medical center in Maldives to deal with outpatient care.

  6. MDP what the hell are you doing? In all fronts, there is just failure and failure! Step down please if you can't do what you promised to do! We don't need another DRP under the guise of MDP....we voted for change and that's what we want!!! For the most important hospital in the country to be this poorly managed is simple not acceptable!

  7. What a load of crap!
    ”Most of the good doctors we have are from India,” Zubair said. HAH! That simply is not true. but what is true is there are good doctors from India and Maldives alike! there are extremely bad incompetent doctors from India too! Just cos they have a certificate it doesnt mean thats a good doctor. and dont even start about getting a certificate in India. m hm! a lot of 'doctor selection' and nurses selection (and teachers selection too) are resulting in fat pockets for those sitting in Health Ministry and elsewhere. give 2000USD and some get instant jobs here! CORRUPTION is the root.
    Not to mention extremely bad management of the Hospital. wait, i cant even say bad, there simply was no management! this chap in the CEO's office literally runs the place. and he does his best with what he knows and the little power he has!
    and Government has nothing to do with it? Not the slightest shame to say that eh!

  8. i think mr zubair is right. no one would like to leave his/her own city or nation and work abroad unless something that is significant , is involved. for most of us money remains a major attraction to come and work in maldives. mr zubair may have to convince the finance people that health would have to be bought at a higher price till there is an indegenous plan in place to train your own doctors. also invest money now in igmc for postgraduate training, this will pay maldives in long run

  9. I agree with most of you guys. Health sector is a backbone of any country or nation. The Maldivean government should make serious concern over it. They should send local doctors abroad for their post graduation in order to combat this big problem. Leaving this problem aside without a future planning will cost a lot. On one side they should raise the salary of working doctors and other side they should send sufficient number of doctors for post graduation training. So then after getting a good number of manpower the government can consider of lowering the salary.

  10. one think I want to add...

    The way this hospitals administration behaving is not a solution. Today the pediatrics unit/department is closed and tomorrow another department will close and finally mister zubair will say we have to close the whole hospital because only less number of doctors remaining here and they are not able to do 24 hours duty.
    Sorry to say this. I pray may Allah solve this huge big problem with his own powers. Ameen


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