Universal health insurance ‘Aasandha’ service begins

The government’s universal health insurance scheme ‘Aasandha’, in a public-private partnership with Allied Insurance, began services at midnight on the new year for all Maldivian citizens with valid national identity cards.

Allied Insurance Managing Director Abdul Waheed Thaufeeq told state broadcaster MNBC One that those with expired ID cards have been given a six month period to renew their cards.

The scheme provides coverage of up to Rf100,000 annually for health services for all Maldivian nationals from hospitals and health centres operated by health corporations as well as private hospitals ADK in Male’ and IMDC in Addu City and the private operations Central Clinic and Central Medical Centre.

The scheme also covers stays in hospitals in neighbouring India and Sri Lanka on the condition that the treatment is not available in the Maldives. A claims administration centre has been established to evaluate requests for medical treatment overseas and issue referral letters.

Allied Insurance expects between 15,000 to 20,000 people to seek medical care under the scheme daily.


Gayoom not invited to SAARC for precedent, allegations

The Maldivian government will not invite former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to the upcoming SAARC summit, to be held in Addu City and Fuvahmulah between November 10-11.

According to local media, Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem yesterday said the allegations against Gayoom of “killing people” and “torture” made it difficult for the government to extend an invitation.

“LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] leader Prabhakaran wasn’t invited to previous SAARC summits because of such allegations against him. So it’s hard for me to do it,” Naseem said earlier on MNBC One.

Local police are currently investigating Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon, for the violent turnout of a protest by ruling party MDP on Thursday, October 20.

Former heads of state are not routinely invited to SAARC summits.


Over 100 copies of Quran found at dump site

Over 100 copies of the Holy Quran were collected during the past three months from the garbage dump site by a citizen of Male’, reports MNBC One.

Most of the Quran copies found by Ahmed Shareef were unused and brand new, he said.

Shareef said that he donated one-third of the books to the Islamic Ministry while the rest were in his possession for safekeeping.

A media official from the Islamic Ministry told MNBC One that a public announcement had been made twice before urging people to drop used copies at the ministry for proper and respectful disposal.

He added that the ministry was assisted by the Maldives National Defence Force in the disposal process.

MNBC One meanwhile warns that “a wave of fire” struck Turkey in 1998 after a similar incident of disrespecting the Quran occurred in the country.