WHO was the first UN agency to establish a country
programme and an office in Maldives. WHO’s
role as the longest standing partner in national health development is well recognized.
It is clearly reflected in the message of H.E. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
to the special forum of the fifty-first World Health Assembly on WHO’s 50th
anniversary, 14 May 1998:
“The partnership between WHO and
Maldives has been an eminently successful one. Given the constrained
circumstances of a resource-poor, widely-dispersed and developing
archipelagic state, the relationship is indeed an indispensable one in order
to ensure affordability of health care to all and to increase national
capacity to address health threats. The Government and people of Maldives, therefore, remain firmly committed to working with WHO, in ensuring the highest attainable standard of health
for all Maldivians for now and in the time to come”.
WHO collaboration in Maldives has embraced a broad-based
approach for meeting the country’s national health development needs.
Incorporating the basic concepts of the National Development Plans and the
Health Master Plan, addressing equity concerns as well as specific health
problems and integrating health and human development concerns into public
policies, the WHO collaborative programmes have focused and supported
sustainable development of national health programmes. In doing so, WHO has
continued to maintain the technical leadership role of the organization in
overall national health development and management.
For better utilization of WHO’s resources, over the
past few biennia, the number of plans of action has been reduced from 24 in
1996-1997 to 22 in 1998-1999 to 15 in 2000-2001.
The main thrusts of the WHO programmes in recent years
have been in the following areas:
Assisting MoH in developing the Health Master
Plan, health policies, strategies, management capacity and TCDC.
Strengthening regional and atoll health
systems by improving efficiency and capability for quality and equitable
Ensuring the development of technically
competent health personnel and their management.
Collaborating in developing a national drug
policy, regulatory and quality assurance capacity, rational use of drugs and
national drug supply strategies.
the development and implementation of national health promotion strategies
and needed interventions for communicable and non communicable diseases,
reproductive health, nutrition, food safety and environmental health,
including safe water supply and sanitation.
Apart from the achievements in the specific programme
areas, the most significant advance made by WHO in recent years has occurred
in the area of policy dialogue between the government and WHO. Periodic meetings
of the GoM/WHO Joint Coordination Mechanism, with its two tiers of the
Advisory and Working Committees, generated a conducive
working environment, direct communication and a participatory approach in
implementing activities. This was stimulated and enhanced by technical contributions
of WHO staff from HQ and regional and country offices, through frequent contacts,
regular and ad hoc, individual and group meetings with relevant ministries,
sectors and programme managers. It has resulted in technically better and
sound proposals, activity implementation being completed and documentation
being submitted. However, further cooperation and strict application of
procedures is required to keep the ongoing momentum of improvements and to
achieve complete and timely utilization of WHO’s
In order to sustain the achievements in the area of
integrated control of communicable diseases, there is a need to further
support improvements in epidemiological surveillance and control.
Furthermore, there is a need to support orientation for nationals on WHO
managerial reform, so that WHO programme budgets would reflect those that
strategically contribute to achieving the national health targets. In
addition, there is a need to further improvements in the quality of planning
and management of WHO collaborative programmes, including the feasibility and
complementarity of WHO programme activities with those of other agencies.