Doctors quit over intimidationThe resignation of three doctors from the largest private hospital in the Maldives has brought its gynaecology department to a grinding halt, according to a hospital official.
Ahmed Afaal, the managing director of ADK hospital, said all of the doctors in the department quit over the past two weeks, claiming their work environment is not safe due to threats and pressure from members of the public.
“Doctors face a lot of pressure and persecution from patients,” he said. “Most of the time, doctors are treated very inhumanely, and this makes them lost interest in their work.”
Due to the rise in the number of threats against doctors in the Maldives, the ministry of health issued a press release in early June. “Qualified specialists are refusing to work in the Maldives, saying they don’t want to work in such a terrifying place,” the statement read.
Doctors in the Maldives are predominantly recruited from India.
According to Afaal, over 60 patients visit the hospital everyday for labour and emergency services as well as caesarean facilities.
Hospital records show that more that ten per cent of patients visit the hospital for gynaecological services.
“We are working to begin the services once again,” said Afaal explaining the three resignations had led to fewer patients. “But it’s hard to recruit professional doctors.”
At the moment only one gynaecologist is employed at the hospital and he has been suspended following an investigation into the death of a mother and her baby, said Afaal.
The mother and baby died following a caesarean section which led to protests outside the hospital.
His passport was confiscated under a court warrant issued by criminal court.
A 26-year-old mother who gave birth recently at ADK hospital expressed concern over the temporary termination of gynecology services, saying “many women will have to suffer”.
In the Maldives, only two hospitals in the capital city Male’ offer basic facilities. The largest hospital Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital recently experienced a shortage of equipment such as x-ray machines and CT scan machines.
Dr Rajshekar Kalgudir, ADK hospital medical superintendent, said pressure from the public was a recent phenomenon, and at times, either the patient or their family openly threatens doctors.
“Sometimes they might ask for 100 percent guarantee in the cases,” he said.
Kalgudir said this kind of behaviour had only been exhibited by Maldivians. “If this continues…many more doctors will quit,” he said.
“Patients and their family should have faith in doctors,” he said. “We’re trained to care, not to harm.”