The Maldives will enter a new era of healthcare service delivery with the opening of the 25-storey Dharumavantha hospital next year, Health Minister Abdulla Nazim said at a topping off ceremony held Wednesday to mark the completion of the concrete structure.
In his remarks after pouring the last batch of concrete, Nazim said the government hopes to commence services by next year’s Independence Day on July 26 as “a gift to the Maldivian people”.
President Abdulla Yameen’s aim is for the hospital to become the best in the region, he said.
Looming over the capital’s skyline with 25 floors, the hospital tower is 10 storeys higher than the next tallest building in Malé. It was developed next to the overrun Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and is expected to expand specialist services and double capacity with 250 to 300 more beds.
“The president’s aim is to reduce the number of people travelling overseas for treatment as well as the amount of dollars flowing out of the country,” Nazim said.
Thousands of Maldivians travel to the neighbouring India and Sri Lanka every year for medical treatment unavailable in the country. Within the country, thousands also travel from outlying islands to the capital as the IGMH is the only state-owned multi-speciality tertiary hospital in the Maldives.
The US$140 million project was awarded to Singapore’s Chang Hua without an open bidding process in March 2015, drawing criticism over the high price tag.
The Anti-Corruption Commission ruled out wrongdoing in the hospital deal in December last year but the opposition says the cost of the government’s flagship projects has been inflated due to alleged graft.
At the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital tower in June last year, Yameen said it would be developed with “a modern, state-of-the-art diagnostic centre as well as numerous other facilities.”
He said the diagnostic centre will be able to cater to at least 130,000 people, which is the combined population of Malé and its suburb Hulhumalé.
At the contract signing ceremony in March last year, IGMH CEO Farhath Shaheer said the hospital tower will house a diagnostic imaging centre, an oncology centre, a cardiology centre, shops, doctor’s accommodation and a restaurant.