Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maldivian way of Interpretation of working Conditions for Doctors in Maldives.

Folks, think what….there is an interesting story to tell about. Although in my blog I may look like having endless complains about the working pattern of Doctors in Maldives, I am not meaning to say that it is the same everywhere. There are places where the small group of local managers take good care of the staff of Health Centers and which in turn affect you as well. 
Like, I at my place have persuaded the entire staff in collecting little bit of fund (equal contribution of MRF 100/- from every staff) and we have made a small breakfast space and now a days we take early morning tea and coffee with some Maldivian locally made short-eats (kinda fast foods, mostly fried little things with fish stuffing in almost everyone of them) together. This is in fact creating a better harmonious atmosphere here. By God’s mercy.

But here is an interesting story which is coming from southern part of Maldives where one of my friend’s friend is posted as a Medical Officer in an atoll hospital. In hospitals there are roster duties dividing the day in three parts of eight hours each. There are virtually only two medical officers there and due to the shortage in number of MOs, the anesthetist (there is not much of work in atoll hospitals for an anesthetist anyway) also is working as a makeshift MO treating children and all. So that fellow was on duty from08:00 AM to 04:00 PM on duty, had to come on duty again at 12 o’clock midnight, the same day when at 4 PM he had left the duty, to 08:00 AM in the morning and had to come back on duty at 04:00 PM for duty again and had to continue till 12 midnight again. This is called no overtime duty. As per our contract we have to work for 8 hours in a day and then be ready for on call duty anytime. So what the management has done is that the 12 midnight to 8 AM duty they’ll call ‘ON CALL’  duty just for the sake of calling it like that and wash their hands from it. This way they say that they are not breaking the contract. Understand it whichever way you want. You can not, in no case, convince them that these kind of routines are impossible. You have to comply.

Now comes the interesting part of the story. After this all 8 hours of scheduled working, followed by 8 hours of rest, then again 8 hours of working which has to be called ‘ON CALL’ duty so as not to break any official rule in their eyes and then 8 hours of  resting period after which again you have to do 8 hours of now scheduled duty, of course you are beat… want to take a nap if possible. Leave the matter of cooking and washing and taking bath etc. Because again after this resting period of 8 hours they will put you on duty and may be call in ‘ON CALL’ again or maybe they’ll use some other flimsy word to cover this bastardness up. They shake up with the roster all the time just to make you uncomfortable. Actually we firmly believe that it is simply due to one cause. They don’t know how to be happy in any other way than creating trouble for outsiders. It’s simply that. You will fail to describe it in any other way. Because as soon as you will bring any sort of complain in front of anyone (even in front of some other than management people, like your translator or reception guy or anybody), they will start laughing hilariously as if they have got what actually they wanted to achieve. It makes you so depressed sometimes that you actually think about committing suicide (it is anyway better than reacting to their deeds).

So, where were we………ya, this fellow had completed two slots of this 8hours duty-8 hours of rest-8 hours of duty slots and then was taking nap to get ready for another 8 hours of duty slot.  One call came from the office at around 11:30 AM (consider the fact that the guy has gone to sleep at 08:30 AM and has to get up at around 02:30  PM get ready for 04:00 PM duty again) to ask for his passport  details. They had to send this information to the Ministry of Health for enrollment of that guy in some pension scheme or things like that (as if that guy is going to stay here for more than this contract period, with this kind of behavior going on, to receive any sort of pension. Oh my Gosh…even the thought of it rattles me. Having goose bumps already typing it.).

The call was made. That guy was woken up and anyway that information could not be fetched from him as he was too delirious due to lack of rest to yield any information. He again tried to go to sleep. Somehow came to duty again at 03:45 PM (here people have to reach a few minutes earlier on duty to sign in the attendance register. That’s the way they like it.). When confronted with the office guy that what was the urgent need of disturbing his so much needed sleep for a not so urgent cause at all…..have you any idea what the reply was?????
(I am re-constructing the conversation. There may be some alterations [although there are none as I have confirmed it already] in the actual wordings than the actual incident)

Management: “You are supposed to be ‘ON CALL’ 24 hours every day without any leave. For the entire contract period.”

 Doctor: “But as a human I need to sleep. I have continuous duties. How will I take rest if you will wake me up in between my much needed sleep? And anyway I was going to come to the office in a few hours. You could have told me this personally when I would be here.”

Management: “There is no mention in your contract that you have not to be disturbed in your sleep. We will call you whenever we need to talk to you.”

Doctor: “But I need to sleep. Is it so difficult to understand?”

Management: “ There is no mention of your sleeping hours in your contract. You will be ‘ON CALL’ all the time and we will call you again if need comes. We can’t keep track of who is on duty and when. If you have complains, you should have thought about it before signing the contract.”

Doctor: “But this kind of things are never written anywhere. It is common sense that any person needs his share of rest & sleep in a day.”

Management: “You can complain about this with the Ministry (supposedly the Ministry of Health & Family which comprise of only a few very talented [???] people).”

This is the situation when there are only 2 people (1 MO & 1 Anesthetist) doing all the MO duties and naturally they are always on alternate duties, no matter what you call these duties, ‘ON CALL’ or scheduled ones, you have to be alert for the call after all even if you are sitting at home and waiting to be called, sometimes 6 to 8 times within a period of 8 hours for anything between Rhinitis or Dermatitis to Abrasions/CLW or  CVA (every possible medical condition even by a distance is an emergency). Consultants are in their OPDs only between 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM after which they are also always ‘ON CALL’ as it is said.

So there you are. If planning to come here or already landed up in this hell and are going to sign the contract, which they insist you sign immediately and in a hurry due to apparent reasons, just try to talk about these things and get them included in it if possible. Best of luck to Doctors who are coming here from outside Maldives. Because for the Maldivian doctors none of these rules apply. Not exaggerating, I have tried to call Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male’ for some consultations and whenever it is some Maldivian Consultant who is on call duty, he/she doesn’t even bother to pick up the call most of the times (my ratio is: only 2 out of 10 attempts were successful. Rest 8 times they did not pick the phone).


  1. hi there, what do you suggest for newcomers who intend to stay for a year and get back to give exams here in india? are they co operative in that case at least?

  2. so is it really that bad to work in maldives as a doctor?

  3. I can not say totally bad. But if you even things out, it doesn't look to be a wise option. and with this money transfer limitation and troubles, not comfortable. as far as preparing for examination is concerned, it is not guaranteed that they will allow you to travel on your will and will give you peace here. All the time someone is calling for sneezing to nail prick. And with your cooking, then 8 hrs duty and plus calls, no one can peacefully prepare for any sort of exam.

  4. dear doctor,
    i am an general surgeon by profession.recently i have received an offer for post of consultant with a salary of 3500 USD.PLZ ADVICE me what shd i do . in india i earn something around 1.2lac per month

  5. Dear sir, there is $ crisis in maldives you can take this job if you are able to transfer this money as they are going to pay u in maldivian rufiya (you can ask them to pay you in $), bank will not transfer >1000$ per month $ costly if you buy in black market.
    3500$= 155000INR you need 10000INR for your expenditure so finally you will earn 20-30,000 extra. So think and decide.

  6. Is this the situation only in government run health establishments or common scene even in Resorts??

    Kindly advice