The US$7 million (MVR118 million) renovation of Malé’s Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) is set to end the concerns of patients with no choice but to use the capital’s only public hospital.
Following yesterday’s announcement, dissatisfied users of IGMH – a gift from India – have told Minivan News that they are currently forced to use its services due to the lack of reasonably priced alternatives.
“The state should be able to offer better and more reliable services than this,” said Ahmed Arshad whose father recently passed away while on the hospital’s waiting list for a bed.
“While I am deeply displeased with the services there, I go there because there is little other choice,” said Shahid Ameen, 35.
According to a statement issued by the hospital’s management, the plans – which include a new 11-storey wing – represent the first major development undertaken since the hospital’s construction 19 years ago.
Plans also include renovation of the hospital’s infrastructure and the upgrading of the Villimalé Health Centre to a 15-bed hospital. IGMH’s new wing – set to be finished by December – will be dedicated to prenatal care and paediatrics and the current dialysis centre expanded.
In his capacity as acting health minister, Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim has also announced that the government is seeking to employ 225 additional doctors, who will enjoy revised pay structures – the details of which are yet to be revealed.
Aishath Inas – a 28 year old teacher – welcomes the proposed development, noting that it is currently “very difficult and time consuming” to get services at IGMH.
“There are long waiting lists even to get a bed in the ward, and people need to wait days to get the medical attention they seek,” she said.
Shahid Ameen noted that the current facilities were hard to locate, despite saying he frequently visits the hospital.
“As for getting appointments with specialists – especially those in the Internal Medicine or Orthopaedics department – well, better to just forget about it. You have to stand in queue for hours, sometimes even days, before you can get an appointment,” he said.
61-year-old Shaheeda Mansoor says she avoids going to the hospital if at all possible.
“It costs a bit more, but it is worth the money to go to clinics instead as you can get faster, and more quality services there when it comes to consultations. However, I still go to IGMH to do some tests as those services are rarely available in the clinics,” she explained.
Indian company Renaatus Projects Pvt Ltd will be undertaking the development work which commenced on May 18 and is estimated to be completed within 15 months.
Under the project, the in-patient wards, attached bathrooms, the Intensive Care Unit, operation theaters, labour rooms, emergency room, and the hospital’s basement will be renovated.
Equipment worth MVR4.5 million (US$291,451) has been donated to the dialysis centre by MedTech Pvt Ltd and Medicom Pve Ltd while a special consultation room will be set up for a recently-recruited specialist in kidney related illnesses.
The new Villimalé Hospital will contain a three-bed labour room, an operation theatre, five consultation rooms, and an emergency services room.
Nazim – who local media reports to be currently heading the Ministry of Health – announced that the state is looking specialists across numerous areas of expertise, including anaesthetists, cardiologists, dermatologists, gynaecologists, paediatricians, and psychiatrists.
At the press conference, State Minister of Health and Family Hussain Rasheed said that the state will complete the hiring of doctors within 45 days, with 91 medical officers to be placed in health centres across the country and specialists assigned to atoll and regional hospitals.