Ministry of Foreign Affairs to is to facilitate the travel of patients requiring urgent critical care, who are not covered by the national health insurance scheme Aasandha.
Announcing this, the foreign ministry said those that require critical care abroad and are not covered by Aasandha are to mail its consular department.
The Indian government has approved the travel of Maldivian patients requiring advanced critical care, despite not having reopened its borders which have been closed following the Covid-19 pandemic. While 28 patients along with caregivers traveled to the neighboring nation last week, India has approved a second batch of 68 patients as well.
This batch was approved on Wednesday, according to Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
The foreign ministry noted that even if approved by the ministry, the patients and caregivers will be allowed to travel after the required authorization from Indian authorities. They are also required to obtain medical visas from the Indian High Commission in Maldives, as well arrange their own stay and quarantine arrangements in India.
This permission granted to Maldivian patients by Indian authorities is the first of its kind.
In an interview to RaajjeTV this past weekend, Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir stated that the decision to permit critically-ill patients “is unprecedented”.
"Assistance at such a scale has never happened for any other country, so, Maldives is very special for us. This should not be surprising since India has always been the largest provider of tertiary medical care for Maldivians. Hospital in cities like Cochin, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are particularly welcoming and hospitable for Maldivian patients. Aasandha also has ties with a lot of the hospitals. I must also share with you it took us huge efforts, on part of the high commission, to get the approvals because it has to be appreciated due to the Covid situation in India, there is a complete ban of travel of foreigners to India. Even overseas citizens of India are restricted from travelling back home. While the approval was not easy, I was never in doubt that approvals will eventually never come. I was very sure they will come, and I must say the government of India responded very positively to the Maldivian request, mainly because it is a humanitarian request”
~ High Commissioner, Sunjay Sudhir