Press Release

WHO gives laboratory, cold chain equipment to Maldives to strengthen pandemic response, build resilient health systems

25 February 2021

  • The World Health Organization handed over cold chain and laboratory supplies to the Ministry of Health Maldives to strengthen pandemic response and support building of a resilient health system.

The World Health Organization today handed over cold chain and laboratory supplies to the Ministry of Health Maldives to strengthen pandemic response and support building of a resilient health system.

At a virtual ceremony WHO South-East Asia Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, handed over the supplies to the Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmed Naseem. The supplies will build modern cold chain system for COVID-19 and other vaccines, strengthen quality of care, and sustain quality testing for COVID-19, measles, rubella and Influenza.

“With WHO's contributions, Maldives has made significant progress in its healthcare and development indicators over the past decades,” said the Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmed Naseem, said adding, “Being a small island nation, Maldives is vulnerable to the impacts of socio­ economic transformations and environmental challenges. As such, it is imperative that we prioritize increasing our capacity for protecting health in an unstable and changing climate.’”

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, “despite the country’s global connectedness and population density in capital Male, COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country have been three times below the global average mortality per million population.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has been working with Maldives government and partners for implementing scenario-based response, and the whole-of-government, whole-of-society buy-in. The procurement of essential medicines and consumables has helped Maldives maintain essential health services, which has been one of the Region’s key areas of focus throughout the response.

With the help of WHO-provided test kits, Maldives has tested a staggering 75% of its population. Cold chain equipment donated is adequate to support vaccine management for the next 10 years.

The Regional Director said Maldives spends 10% of GDP on health – the highest allocation in the Region – and provides government-funded comprehensive health insurance to every Maldivian.

“I am certain that Maldives’ commitment to adequate and efficient public health financing will continue to be a core feature of its efforts to achieve UHC, a flagship priority in the Region and the target that underpins Sustainable Development Goal 3,” she said. 

Today’s hand-over will build on the country’s achievements by facilitating COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and ensuring Maldives can maintain its progress in other important areas of work, including strengthening TB and measles and rubella surveillance.

“I look forward to Maldives’ ongoing regional and global leadership throughout the vaccine roll-out and in the recovery from the crisis and commend leaders on their commitment to build a caring state and to implement the Strategic Action Plan in letter and spirit,”  Dr Khetrapal Singh said.   

WHO gives laboratory, cold chain equipment to Maldives to strengthen pandemic response, build resilient health systems

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Aishath Zaina Nazim

WHO
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