MPs debate legislation on health professionals

MPs yesterday debated legislation on health professionals submitted by the government to create oversight councils seeking to maintain standards, ensure qualifications, investigate complaints, and take disciplinary measures.

Presenting the bill (Dhivehi) on behalf of the government, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Shiyam explained that “the bill very clearly defines health professionals, medical practitioners, dental practitioners, nurses and midwives.”

The bill proposes the creation of “a medical and dental council, nursing and midwifery council, and the allied health council,” he said.

The MP for Lhaviyani Naifaru added that the bill also specifies the responsibilities and tasks of the councils as well as criteria and procedures for appointing members.

Shiyam said the bill was “long overdue” and contended that the absence of such legislation was the “main reason” for the deterioration of the health sector.

In the ensuing debate, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Rozaina Adam agreed that the bill was overdue but suggested that shortcomings needed to be addressed at the committee stage.

An insurance mechanism for doctors was not included in the bill, she said, noting that the practice in other countries was for compensation for medical negligence to be paid out of an insurance scheme.

“It is not possible for doctors to pay for that out of their own pockets,” she said, adding that she hoped provisions would be added to provide “liability insurance” for doctors.

Rozaina also accused the government of plotting to remove former Health Minister Dr Mariyam Shakeela by modifying her initial portfolio on July 1 and transferring the gender department to the new Ministry of Law and Gender to be headed by Attorney General Mohamed Anil.

Shakeela was reappointed as Minister of Health and nominated for parliamentary approval. Shakeela was dismissed yesterday after she failed to secure parliamentary consent when pro-government MPs voted against confirming her appointment on Monday (August 11).

Rozaina argued that it was unconstitutional for the attorney general to head a ministry as his mandate was clearly defined.

If the ruling party’s MPs did not have confidence in Shakeela, Rozaina said President Abdulla Yameen could have not reappointed her instead of subjecting her to “public humiliation”.

While pro-government MPs spoke in favour of the health professionals bill, other MDP MPs contended that the health sector would not be improved by passing the bill.

MP Abdul Ghafoor Moosa suggested that the number of employees in the health sector was excessive and redundant and questioned the “competency” of the government to improve the quality of healthcare.

Adhaalath Party MP Anara Naeem meanwhile said all Maldivian citizens agreed that the health sector was in dire need of improvements and stressed the importance of a law to ensure standards for health professionals.

“Outreach programmes of Israeli Zionists”

Introducing the legislation, MP Shiyam praised former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for the “positive revolution” brought to the health sector during the PPM leader’s “golden” 30-year reign.

However, the progress achieved under Gayoom “came to a halt when certain people destroyed the health sector in the name of democracy,” Shiyam claimed, and as a consequence of former President Mohamed Nasheed allegedly replacing health professionals with political appointees.

The health sector deteriorated “as a result of conducting outreach programmes of Israeli Zionists and efforts to instil a culture of spreading the Jewish religion in the name of healthcare,” he said, which was “tragic and dangerous”.

Shiyam was interrupted by MDP MP Ibrahim Shareef raising a point of order and objecting to pro-government MPs “turning the Majlis into a political podium” with rhetoric that was irrelevant to the bill up for debate.

After Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed dismissed the point of order, Shiyam said he was “highlighting the causes of the health sector being in the state it is in today”.

“I condemn efforts by the previous government to spread secularism by bringing Zionists here,” he said.

In November 2010, the Islamic Foundation of Maldives called on the government to “shun all medical aid from the Zionist regime” while a team of seven Israeli eye doctors was due to arrive the next month, claiming that Isreali doctors and surgeons “have become notorious for illegally harvesting organs from non-Jews around the world.”

However, despite protests and flag burning, the Disaster Management Centre revealed in December 2010 that in addition to screening of some 215 people in the capital, 16 patients underwent surgery with the Eye from Zion doctors, 104 received consultations, and 137 people were treated in Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo by the Israeli NGO.


6 thoughts on “MPs debate legislation on health professionals”

  1. "Anything that actually helps Maldivians with health issues is zionism! We need more fake doctors so we can sucker Maldivians for more money! We're in debt to GMR and we need to stea- UH I MEAN TAX everything we can!" Short version

  2. I cannot understand why Israeli and Indian NGO's are wasting their time and resources in bringing healthcare to the ungrateful Maldives. Why can't your brothers in muslim countries help you out? Why don't you recruit your doctors, nurses and technicians from Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan?
    When recruiting health professionals from India, do make sure they are Sunni Muslims. It is morally reprehensible to recruit non Muslims and then subject them to your discriminatory '100% muslim' laws. Do make your religious laws clear in your Contract of Employment.
    Non muslim health professionals should refrain from seeking employment in backward non secular countries.

  3. The majority of ground breaking medical treatments is pioneered by non-muslims, fact.

    The majority of Maldivians travel overseas to non-muslim countries for life saving treatment, fact.

    The majority of Maldivians would die if medical treatment from non-muslims is prevented by law, fact.

    People of the Maldives need to get rid of idiots who sentence those needing professional health care to suffering and death because of religious beliefs, fact.

    Take a look at where these so called MPs take their families for medical treatment and I doubt they are too bothered about religion when in pain and suffering, fact.

  4. The standard-setting body model in the Maldives has not been a success so far due to the highly politicized process of appointment through which those bodies are composed.

    Usually the decision-making board of any body is hand-picked by the President and sent to the Parliament for approval. The President is under great pressure to nominate party activists, cronies and political allies. Meanwhile the public has not displayed any concern for the qualifications/experience/reputation/achievements of those who are proposed by the President. So this often leaves wide room for Parliament to then make deals with select nominees who they will then confirm in those posts.

    Often the winners are opportunists, career politicians and proxies of influential businesses who lack the know-how and the self-respect to make a difference.

    So imagine if we set up a medical standards-setting body such as Doctor's Council that sets standards for doctors and licenses them. Who will government and Parliament choose to head such a Council? Will the appointees have the knowledge and experience to implement an entirely new concept in the Maldives? Will they possess the high standards that they themselves are legally bound to uphold? Will they have the integrity, honor and determination not to rubber stamp suspicious certifications (like the Attorney General's Office)? These are all questions we need to ask before we create more ways to spend taxpayers money.

    One solution might lie in a policy of hiring foreign expertise to head newly formed bodies until local capacity can be built. Several small states with limited skilled human resource have used this policy to great effect. Rather than hiring consultants to come in for a couple of days and pay lip service to a sector let's get them to base themselves here and try and make a difference.

  5. This is yet another show of Maldivian politics that's doing more harm than good for the country.

    People ought to be educated enough to know the difference between Jews, Zionists, Israelis, Israeli government, doctors, medical professionals, non-Muslims, foreigners and a whole lot of other varieties.

    An Israeli doctor treating a Maldivian is not necessarily a Zionist. He may be a Jew (or not), but he is or was here to do a professional job. Would Maldives throw out all Indian or Sri Lankan doctors given that they are non-Muslims? For example, just because a few Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka are beating up Muslims, does that mean we ought to refuse the services of ALL Sri Lankan Buddhists?

    Clearly, an educated man (from books or from the street) knows the answer to these questions. Sometimes one wonders whether the Maldives will ever emerge out of its impoverished (both material and spiritual) state! It will not happen in the next few hundred years, judging by the prevalent idiocy.

  6. This is a really pathetic attempt at political point scoring. Idiots cannot fake it; once they open their mouth, it's game over.

    Shiyam clearly doesn't know much about Judaism. It's not a religion that can be "acquired" willy nilly by any Joe Blogs or a Mohammed or an Ali! Hell, no, they don't serve out Judaism to anyone outside a very restricted set of human beings!

    I propose on sending Shiyam to Israel for an orientation program.


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