Thalassemia Centre Renovation Sparks Debate on Service VS Aesthetics

After a decade, the National Thalassemia Center in Maldives is being renovated. While the centre is being changed after a long time of neglect, many locals are questioning the quality of service at the centre.

According to the Maldives WHO Mission August report in 2014, the Republic of the Maldives has one of the highest carrier rates of the beta thalassaemias in the world.

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Issues that have to be considered included the difference in care of patients living in and near Male compared to those in the Atolls, the need for continued supplies of drugs and consumables and issues of collaboration between blood banks and between clinicians of the thalassaemia centre and the hospital when inpatient care is needed.  It also states that the thalassaemia centre should be upgraded as the reference centre with facilities based on European standards for reference centres.

The government of Maldives established The National Thalassemia Centre (NTC) of Maldives in 1994. When the centre started, it was manned by 19 staff members including 1 doctor, 2 staff nurse and 3 laboratory technologists. Today there are 46 staff members including 4 doctors.

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Currently, the National Thalassemia Center renovation work is being carried out by Housing Development Corporation (HDC). “The building was in a very bad state. It is good news that the government finally decided to renovate the place,” said a worker at the Thalassemia Centre.

Talking about the various complaints by locals on the quality of service provided, he says that at the Thalassemia Centre, they follow an appointment system. “However, patients do not arrive on time. We have had to deal with several issues due to poor discipline in the centre.”

In 2019, the Maldives Thalassaemia has raised concerns following the death of eight patients in two months. The statement highlighted life-threatening complications or death as a result of not administering age appropriate treatment, lack of a Thalassaemia specialist at the Thalassaemia centre, no system of referral between Thalassaemia centre and IGMH, lack of specialists for Thalassemic patients overall and no adequate system to maintain records of patients.

According to a donor, the centre still has an old system in place. “Patients are required to fill a form on their personal information every time they come. This is 2020; a more convenient system should be established.”

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