The Maldives is an Island nation with a population of about 305,027. The country is making remarkable achievements in human development. In Maldives, life expectancy was estimated to be 71 years for males and 72 years for females, in the year 2004. The population of Maldives is dominated by young and though the population growth has stabilized over the past few years, it is expected to rise in the years to come.
Due to the availability of better health care facilities, expansion of health services throughout the country and effective immunization programs, the death rate has fallen over the past years. Maldives is working hard to meet the goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Generally, the infant mortality rate has decreased over the past years. In Maldives, 70% of infant deaths are neonatal deaths, given that a large number of births are premature.
The government body that is responsible for the delivery of health care services is the ministry of health. The ministry of health has given tremendous priority to maternal health of Maldivian women. The ministry has conducted health programs such as the safe motherhood program, in this regard. As a result of these programs, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has significantly decreased. Issues that contribute to maternal mortality in Maldives include the difficulty in access to obstetric services in emergencies, closely spaced pregnancies, iron deficiency anemia and late referral to health service providers.
Health is a basic right to every citizen in the Maldives. Health services in the Maldives are delivered through primary health care. In the effort made by the government to provide the public with easy access to health care facilities, six regional hospitals at strategic locations have been established. In addition, each island has a health post and islanders of every inhabited island are provided a family health worker and midwife. There are more than 26 atoll health centers that provide access to health care facilities. The central health care establishment, Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) is in Male’, the capital city. IGMH was inaugurated in 1994.