Minister of Health and Gender Dr Mariyam Shakeela has apologised for the transfusion of HIV positive blood to a patient at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), in a press statement issued almost fifteen hours after the incident was made public.
The statement said that “as it happened due to the negligence of a staff working at IGMH” the minister and the ministry “apologised with deep grief” to the patient, the patient’s family, and all citizens of the Maldives.
“Given the modern technological resources and tools established at IGMH to prevent such an incident, the ministry accepts that this incident should not have taken place and this sad incident shouldnt be acceptable for anyone. Today is a sad day unlike any other day this ministry and IGMH has ever seen.”
The ministry said that an investigation was launched as soon as it came to the attention of the government and the hospital, and that the employee found to be negligent was relieved of their duties immediately.
“The ministry assures that, after completing the investigation, strict action will be taken against everyone who is found to have been negligent in this,” read the statement.
Stating that “changing the sorrowful result of this incident is not in the power of this ministry”, assurance were given that all necessary steps are now being taken to prevent such an incident in the future.
Concluding the statement, the ministry requested all health service providers to “learn from the incident” and to be more attentive, kind, and dedicated in providing their services.
Speaking to crowds gathered outside IGMH this evening, local media have reported Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has pledged to introduce a no-confidence motion against Dr Shakeela in the Majlis.
The MDP earlier accused the government of delaying the news of the incident – first discovered eight days ago – to allow for celebrations of the government’s first 100 day achievements.
Maldives Police Service has confirmed that an investigation in to the incident is being carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Health.
The parliament’s government accountability committee will begin it’s own investigation tonight at 8:00pm, and will later summon the minister of health and other senior members of the ministry and the hospital.
Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has also announced the launch of an investigation as well as expressing condemnation and grief over the incident.
“This commission calls upon the state to provide special protection and care in accordance to international standards for the person who sustained an irrevocable loss in this incident, and to provide health care of the highest standard for the person,” read a press release this afternoon.
The commission noted that the right to life and right to security and safety of the person of the victim have been violated and requests the government and state to ensure the victim and family are provided with their rightful social protection and are not discriminated against in any way.
Requesting that legal action be taken against all responsible parties, the HRCM also demanded the strengthening of regulations and procedures in accordance with international best practices.
In a separate ‘public appeal’ statement today, the commission called on the media and members of the public to respect the grief and privacy of the victim and family, and to refrain from any action liable to cause further harm and distress by willfully imparting false information.