The agreement between India’s Apollo Group and the Maldives government to manage Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has stalled, after the private healthcare giant failed to submit a required operational management agreement by the July deadline.
“We were supposed to receive a plan by the end of July,” said State Health Minister Dr Abdul Bari. “They required additional information which we have provided.”
The operations management agreement was to be submitted following a situational analysis of the hospital.
That agreement said that both parties were required to cement the deal and sign the 12 year management agreement by the end of July.
Dr Bari said the government had requested an update from Apollo, but insisted the hospital’s future was not in limbo.
Managing Director of IGMH Mohamed Zubair said the hospital was not preparing for a management change, but noted that the deal “has neither failed nor succeeded. It is yet to be decided.”
“Apollo is an expert group and would bring a lot of benefits to the people,” he said. “They have the capacity to raise the existing standards. But even if they do not come we will continue trying to improve services.”
However the delay was making “little investments” more difficult, he said.
Apollo has previously estimated that it will need to spend US$25 million to bring the hospital up to global standards.
Chairman of the privatisation committee Mahmood Razee said following announcement of the agreement in January that one of the first changes to be made by Apollo would be to management.
“The major issue was that the management structure [at IGMH] was not working properly, this led to high costs and some services and medicines not being available. The overall quality of service went down,” he said.
Apollo also signalled its intentions to make 80 percent of hospital employees Maldivian over a 15 year period, although it was unclear as to how this would be achieved given the lack of medical higher education facilities in the country.
In April, a series of alleged blunders at the hospital – including wrong injections being given, a woman who claimed to have had a vein sewn into her skin and parents of a suicidal adolescent who complained their son suffered a motorbike accident and was discharged after being given an IV – highlighted a system under pressure.
Earlier this month the victim of a stabbing told Minivan News that doctors at IGMH had stitched his wound and sent him home, “but I did not feel well. I was having difficulty breathing, but since they said I was fine, I thought I was fine,’’ he said.
“Later, I realised air was spreading inside my body and my back, chest, neck and arms were puffing up. Doctors at ADK said that I had been stabbed in the lungs and that one of my lungs had stopped functioning. They said if I had been any later the air would have reached my brain and they would not have been able to help me.”
IGMH was originally gifted to the Maldives by the government of India.