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Inaugural Address by Minister of Health at Quality and Safety Symposium 2017

February 17, 2017

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of mercy Muhammad salla laahu alaihi wassalam and his companions.

CEO, Chairman of ADK Hospital, Ahmed Nashid

Managing director of ADK Hospital Mr. Ahmed Affal,

Distinguished guests, participants, Ladies and gentleman.

Assalaam Alaikum, a very good morning.

Good health is a blessing. Working to be in good health is an individual responsibility and the provision of safe care is an obligation on health service providers.

I would like to thank the management of the ADK Hospital for organizing this very important symposium and for providing a forum to discuss to elaborate and constructively criticize the services that healthcare providers offer to the public. I also thank ADK hospital management for inviting me to be part of this event.

Let me also take this opportunity to welcome all of you to this symposium and our esteemed foreign guests to this country. Please do enjoy your stay here and take in the beauty of this Paradise on earth.

Distinguished guests, Health care delivery in Maldives has moved from an era where we had minimum technology and fewer services to an industry that boasts of the state-of-the-art technology, and services that any other developed country maybe offering.

Over the past few years, we have moved from a solely government managed health service delivery to privately owned clinics and hospitals. A clear example of this development is the ADK hospital who has broadened their services rapidly over the last few years, to become the only tertiary level private healthcare provider.

The current Maldivian government has changed the face of healthcare delivery. Today we are a country where health services are both accessible and affordable to every citizen. Accessibility by way of health facilities with essential services, with the availability of a medical doctor in every inhabited island and affordability through “Husnuvaa Asandha” a pledge and an initiative of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayoom.

I believe that being able to afford all health services, irrespective of the complexity of condition, to every single citizen without discrimination is a huge accomplishment of this government.

Distinguished participants, Achievements in the health sector are immense and numerous many communicable diseases has been completely eradicated and we are on the verge of getting the elimination certification for some other communicable diseases like measles. We are working to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes and today the Maldives healthcare system has come to a junction where in order to attain further positive results, we have to focus on quality and safety of care delivered.

We consider private health care providers as partners in our healthcare delivery. Not only to provide better access to health services, but also to improve care delivery, and start new services within the country. To that effect, neuro-surgical services are one area in which ADK hospital has now achieved excellence.

President Yameen, with his vision to improve health care delivery and make it accessible to our people has devised system of public private partnership to offer health care services that are not available in this country. Our Cardiac Center, Uro-renal and Fertility center are clear evidence of how far we have reached over the last 3years.

Public Awareness about health services has taken an about turn. Once healthcare delivery was received without a question, but today, we have to be more accountable and responsible in the care that we deliver.

We have largely managed to ensure services however throughout the years, one main challenge remained that is ensuring quality in the services that we deliver.

Distinguished participant, we have a lot to learn from each other and we have a common goal: Quality and safety of healthcare to Maldivians. We would like to bring all our activities and our private providers under the same banner of quality and safety. Our very latest initiative in

formulating National Healthcare Quality Standards and training Assessors, both from the public and the private sector validate the fact that this government is committed to work with the private sector in harnessing quality and safety in health services.

Healthcare seeking behavior. In our system is based on a perceived notion about quality. Health care is sought elsewhere by bypassing the nearest health facility with the same services simply based on word of mouth and sometimes millions of dollars are spent in neighboring countries not necessarily because the services are not available locally but only owing to this perceived notion.

There are many different factors that impact quality and safety. The themes of discussion in this symposium are important areas that will inform safety and quality of care.... One is Health care associated infection.

Time in the hospital can also put patients at risk of a healthcare-associated infection. And these infections can have devastating emotional and financial effects, and can be deadly. Steps should be taken to control and prevent these infections with a conscious effort from everyone. We the government and private sector should work together towards improving care protecting patients and saving lives.

Implementing and sustaining quality and safety in healthcare may not be an easy road to take but with practice, innovation, assessment and re-adjustment will help us advance on the path of quality. Though quality of care is the end point, the path to quality and safety is a long trying road. There is always room for improvement and we need to be tireless, have patience and keep up the pressure and learn what works. Because death or disability due to avoidable medical errors and injuries are not acceptable.

“To err is human” and to prevent errors has to take precedence. One of our aims as a service provider should be to acknowledge that we have problems, once we accept this fact, we can identify problems, find the root case and attend to it.

A quality and safety culture will open our minds and broaden our horizons to leave aside blaming and fault finding culture, be transparent and involve public participation in health. Two very interesting discussion themes in this symposium include “open disclosure” and “involving patients and family” Informing people about the service the treatment the complications and where errors happen openly is the foundation for “Building Trust in healthcare” And the service providers can only accomplish this with the involvement of our patients and their families.

I wish the participants of this important symposium successful deliberation. My team and I in the health Ministry wish ADK Hospital new achievements and accomplishments.

Let me once again re-iterate that President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayoom’s government is committed in ensuring Quality and safety of health services that is provided to our people. To achieve this, the public and private health providers in Maldives must work hand in hand.

Thank you Vassalaam alaikum. 

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