The Ministry of Health has held discussions with Bangkok Hospital to provide Aasandha, the Maldives universal healthcare scheme, in Thailand.
The ministry said today that discussions with Bangkok Hospital were held between heads of Bangkok Hospital and the acting Minister of Health Mohamed Nazim, reported local media Sun Online.
The discussions reportedly included providing specialist services and medical equipment to the Maldives, establishing a mechanism to prevent shortages of drugs, improving health clinic services in the Maldives, and ensuring the availability of certain drugs at Bangkok Hospital through Aasandha.
Earlier this year, President Abdulla Yameen inaugurated the ‘Unlimited Aasandha’ universal health scheme, as a part of his presidential campaign pledge and his first hundred day programme.
At the time, Yameen assured that the new unlimited service will be an upgrade from the existing Aasandha programme introduced by President Mohamed Nasheed which encountered a number of issues, particularly with regards to sustainability.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has alerted Maldivian citizens of the potential risks of travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest.
A statement released by the Ministry yesterday (May 24) explains that Maldivians should take extra care due to the Royal Thai army seizing power on May 22.
“The situation may evolve quite rapidly”, the statement warned. “Maldivian citizens are cautioned to avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Foreigners who join the anti-government protests face risk of deportation.”
“Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports. Consider using public transportation.”
The statement goes on to advise all Maldivians travelling to Thailand to take all necessary precautions for personal safety, and purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance.
In addition, the Ministry asks Maldivians who are in need of consular assistance while in Bangkok to contact the consulate-general of the Maldives or the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On May 20, the Royal Thai Army imposed martial law in Thailand, giving the military expanded authority to take action it deems necessary to enforce law and order.
Furthermore, the army have announced an overnight curfew during 10pm – 5am local time.
Former President Mohamed Nasheed returned to Male’ around 10:30pm Thursday night following a trip to Bangkok where he was visiting his ill father, reports Sun Online.
Nasheed left the Maldives December 25, 2012 following multiple immigration delays to his departure to Thailand.
This included the withholding of his passport due to the ongoing trial against him in relation to the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdullah Mohamed while he was president, as well as a “technical error” at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on December 21, local media reports.
Two Maldivians were arrested at Colombo Airport after they boarded a Sri Lankan Airlines flight drunk and violently harassed passengers and cabin crew during the flight, reports Sri Lanka’s ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper.
Sri Lankan police told the paper that the two Maldivians were under the influence of liquor and were apprehended by the Katunayake police for behaving in an unruly manner.
“The two suspects acted violently, harassing the passengers and crew following the flight’s departure from Bangkok late last night,” the paper reported. “Soon after the landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, the two suspects were taken into police custody and they were to be produced before the Magistrate shortly.”
Maldivian newspaper ‘Haveeru’ has also reported the same incident and identified the pair as Hanif Mushaf and Washeed Ibrahim.
Haveeru quoted a senior Sri Lankan police officer as saying that the two Maldivian nationals tried to manhandle the cabin crew and passengers.
The cabin crew reportedly warned the two Maldivians to calm down, the paper reported.
Maldives Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that he had heard about the incident through the media but could not yet confirm the arrest.
First Secretary at the Maldivian Embassy in Srilanka Ahmed Mujthaba was not responding to calls at the time of going to press.
The Sri Lankan Airlines office in Male’ was closed for the public holiday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged Maldivians that are currently in Bangkok to urgently register their details with either the Ministry or the Consulate of Maldives in Thailand, in the wake of flooding.
“Please note that Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport is operating normally at present but the Don Muang domes c airport has been closed since 25 October 2011. There is disruption to road and rail transport, particularly on routes north of Bangkok and in flooded areas,” the Ministry said in a statement.
“If you are in an affected area, exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
The current flooding disaster in Thailand is the worst in half a century and is believed to have killed 366 people, and has damaged farmland, industry and shipping.