Health Minister Ahmed Naseem announced on Tuesday that the government has initiated preparations to establish a dedicated agency for ambulance service in the country.
Minister Naseem made the remark after being summoned to the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender to answer questions about the death of a 10-year-old girl who succumbed to the COVID-19 virus due to multiple instances of negligence on the part of the relevant authorities, including a more than 2-hour delay in ambulance response time.
He also stated that discussions have taken place with the Ministry of Finance regarding the necessity of establishing a specific ambulance service agency, its use, and how it relates to the country’s present health crisis.
Furthermore, the health minister noted that the agency should contain a distinct autonomous unit that does not run based on commercial interests but rather functions as an institution that provides services to the public.
Minister Naseem stated that, while ambulance service is vital for all islands, some do not even have ambulances, while others lack the processes needed for good service implementation, all of which constitute substantial barriers to safeguarding the safety of local inhabitants.
An agreement was reached in early June between the Ministries of Health, Finance, and the State Trading Organization (STO) to acquire 96 ambulances to address needs around the country.