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China donates sea ambulance

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The Chinese government on Thursday donated a sea ambulance to the Maldives National Defence Force.

The 26-meter-long vessel is equipped with a “mini-medical theatre,” according to the MNDF, including facilities for scans, electrocardiography tests, intravenous therapy and oxygen delivery.

Sea ambulance services were introduced in early 2014 to provide emergency transportation from all inhabited islands in the country, most of which lack adequate healthcare facilities.

The exchange documents for the Chinese ship were signed by Lieutenant Colonel Chen Xiao, head of a visiting Chinese navy delegation, and Mohamed Zuhair, minister of state for defence and national security.

The MNDF coastguard has attended to more than 10,000 cases of medical evacuation by air and sea during the past four years, Zuhair said at the handover ceremony.

Zhang Lizhong, Chinese ambassador to the Maldives, assured continuing assistance towards the country’s development.

China became a key development partner after President Abdulla Yameen took office in 2013, with Chinese grants and loans financing his administration’s flagship infrastructure projects.

Last week, the ambassador rejected allegations that China has been land grabbing in the Maldives and dragging it into a debt trap.

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