The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has stated that the government has decided to provide national health insurance "Aasandha" services under a specified price at hospitals and clinics to restore the tradition of begging to afford health care services.
In a statement issued following the government’s announcement that patients will be charged for specific costs beginning August 1 MDP expressed its concern and alleged that the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and Civil Coalition has made several attempts to discredit the scheme.
The statement read that the Aasandha health insurance scheme was set up as a promise by former President Mohamed Nasheed to put an end to the long lasting tradition of having to beg to afford healthcare by introducing a system which did not charge a patient seeking healthcare but that the present government is trying to “cease” the scheme.
“The agreement signed by the Finance Ministry, Health Ministry and Aasandha Company states that no money should be extracted in fees or any other costs from the people and thus the party condemns the coup government’s attempts to charge a fee from the people for the service in the strictest of terms,” the statement read.
The party claims that even though Aasandha is extended to the clinics the set budget of MVR720 million would suffice as said so by Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad on May 23 and noted that the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) had earned MVR3.5 billion more than forecasted figures implying doubt towards the government’s capability as it still needs to charge a fee from patients for healthcare.
“According to the agreement made between the Aasandha Company and the government for the government to pay MVR909 million to the company by the end of 2012, the former MDP backed government had paid MVR312,614,842.00 in regular payments however following the coup in February no payments had been made to the company as per the information made public by the Aasandha Company on July 23,” the statement detailed.
State Health Minister and Chairman of the National Social Protection Agency’s (NSPA) board Thorig Ali Luthfee said yesterday that Aasandha is made available in clinics with set price as agreed by NSPA and the service provider and that the price has to be in affordable range for wide spectrum of patients.