Following a week of fundraising events the Health Ministry has raised over 5.5 million MVR (US$357,142) for the Health Trust Fund established in late April, falling short of the MVR 270 million (US$ 17,532,450) needed for health sector services.
The only way the Health Trust Fund can be maintained is through donations of sufficient assets and in this regard government and private sector contributions are very important, Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Jamsheed recently told local media.
He explained that the health sector requires an additional MVR 270 million (US$ 17,532,450), which requires public contributions and cooperation.
Previously health sector services were “covered by the people”, however following the start of the Aasandha universal health insurance scheme on 1 January 2012 the government of Maldives needed a “huge amount of finance” to cover expenses, said Jamsheed.
Therefore, the Health Ministry organised a series of fundraising events to “commence activities to raise funds, not to gather all the funds need to cover all health sector services,” he added.
“We want health services to be sustainable by putting an end to service disruptions due to machinery breakdowns as well as provide a systematic way for people to give in-kind donations,” Health Ministry Director and fundraising media team member Thasleema Usman told Minivan News yesterday (June 8).
“There has always been a budget shortfall at the Health Ministry, there has never been enough money,” Usman said.
“We wanted to try and do something for the Maldivian people, additionally there are also people who want to contribute [to the fund] for the benefit of the public,” she added.
Usman explained that the various fundraising events were organised as a start for the trust fund and to raise awareness among the public.
“We didn’t want this to be a ‘once off’ thing,” she said.
“Although the total amount of funds raised are still being tallied, as of this afternoon (June 9), the total reported was MVR 5.5 million (US$357,142), with over MVR 2 million (USD$129,870) in cash donations and more than MVR 3 million (US$194,805) from in kind contributions,” Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) Senior Scientific Officer and fundraising media team member Mariyam Shabeena told Minivan News today (June 9).
The health sector budgeted MVR 2.2 billion (US$142,857,000) for 2013, however around MVR 1.1 billion US$71,428,500) or 50 percent of the total budget is allocated for the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), according to Usman.
She said that over MVR 5 million is needed for social safety net subsidy programs, such as single parent’s allowance, foster parent’s allowance, disability registration and benefit and electricity subsidies, which fall under NSPA.
NSPA is also responsible for managing the national social health insurance scheme, a public-private partnership with Allied Insurance.
“Aasandha requires 1.13 billion MVR (US$73,376,550) to provide actual health care,” Usman said.
“An additional MVR 500 million (US$32,467,500) is required for Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) operations and the Health Ministry budget also includes institutions, such as the Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA), National Drug Agency (NDA), etc,” she continued.
Usman explained that the health trust fund will be transparent, with legal mechanisms to manage the money.
“The Health Ministry can only have a sustainable trust fund if funds are raised legally, by abiding with Finance Ministry regulations,” she said.
“The fund has a very well written policy that explains how the money will be used and what has been used,” Usman continued.
“A nine member committee chaired by the Health Minister will oversee the fund, which has a grading system to determine where funds are need most.”
Members of the public making contributions can earmark their donations for a particular island or association, but the trust fund committee needs to know what is being earmarked so contributions are not wasted, Usman added.
A one hour telethon pre-show was broadcast nationwide from June 1 – 7 on four TV stations – MBC, VTV, DhiTV, Raajje TV – and three radio stations – MBC, VTV, DhiFM to raise awareness about the fundraising events.
“The broadcast reports showed where we are, the assistance required, and the grand realities of how the Health Ministry spends their budget,” Usman explained.
The actual telethon was held Saturday ( June 8 ) from 6:00am to midnight. It was kicked off with a sponsored walk along one of Male’s main thoroughfares.
Additionally, two charity football matches were held in Male’s National Stadium Friday (June 7), with Maldivian media presenters facing off against film stars.
The film star women’s team was victorious, winning 4 – 0 , while the men’s media team won 3-0 after dominating overtime penalty kicks.
Proceeds from ticket sales and t-shirt purchases also contributed to the Health Ministry fund.
Furthermore, a Children’s Evening fundraising event was also held at Male’s Children’s Park (Kudakudinge Bageecha).
Donation boxes were also placed at ferry terminals in Male’, as well as IGMH, regional and atoll hospitals.
“Ultimately these events were very successful because we were able to raise so much money,” said Usman.