President Mohamed Nasheed has today launched the “Primary Health Care Program” of Male City Council, which aims to facilitate immunization and other health services to children below five years of age.
In its first step the program will conduct a survey to determine the total number of children below five years of age living in capital Male’, Mayor Maizan Ali Manik said during the program launch at Vinares house in Machangoalhi district.
To inaugurate the program, President Nasheed visited that house and helped the children living there fill out primary health care forms.
City council officials are expected to visit every household in Male’ during the survey.
Speaking to the press, the President said the 11-seat council, which consists of nine ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) councillors, is now mandated with the important task of managing primary health care in Male’.
The primary health care program has not been “managed properly” in Male’, though the islands have been running the program successfully, he added.
Under the program, the council will be responsible for recording children’s height, weight, and other health indicators, the President observed.
Mayor Manik reiterated the importance of the initiative, adding that the council has decided to open Primary Health Centers (PHC) in Male’s four districts, as well as nearby Villingili and Hulhumale.
He added that the centers will help “reduce the current pressures faced by the hospitals” as parents can take their children to the paediatricians at the health centers instead of going directly to hospitals.
“The parents can bring the children here. The doctor at the center will recommend if further consultation is required from hospitals”, the Mayor explained.
He added that centers will provide immunization, vaccination and free consultations, among other health services.
The program follows the implementation of the Aasandha universal health insurance scheme, under which Maldivians will receive up to Rf100,000 of free health care per year. Government officials have said the scheme now holds the government to a higher standard of health care.
During the primary school admission process last year, the Ministry of Education observed that an increasing number of children were not properly vaccinated.
Parents are required to submit a vaccination report with the school application form when their children enroll in grade one, at the age of seven.
Following the Ministry’s observation, public health experts stressed the importance of a comprehensive primary health care initiative to ensure proper immunisation of children.
Speaking today to Minivan News, Public Health Programme Coordinator for the Center for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) Dr Fathmath Nazla Rafeeq welcomed the city council’s initiative as an important move to provide easy access to vaccination and monitoring.
She noted that the Maldives already has a record high vaccination coverage rate in the region, adding that the health centers will help “sustain the coverage”.