President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that major healthcare concerns could be avoided and public health improved with more comprehensive and inclusive social awareness. He made the remarks in his address at the function held this afternoon to mark the golden jubilee anniversary of Hithadhoo Health Centre in Laamu Atoll.

Speaking at the function, President Solih noted that the mounting problem of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. He highlighted that NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases, were associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices, abuse of tobacco and excessive consumption of unsafe food products including junk food and products high in sugar.

Stating that the means to address challenges in the health sector starts with increasing public awareness on the dangers of such diseases, the President said that protecting and improving public health and their communities was a top priority of the Administration.

Noting that the Administration preferred a holistic approach to all-inclusive and accessible healthcare, the President spoke about ongoing health sector development plans. In this regard, he highlighted the Administration’s strategy of developing five tertiary hospitals across the country - Gan Regional Hospital is currently being established as one. He said that it would enable MRI, CT scan and X-ray services and consultations with specialist doctors closer to home.

Speaking further about the recently ratified amendment to the Decentralisation Act, President Solih stated that it broadens the role of health centres and the role of local councils in improving public health. Highlighting that it paves the way for the election of Women’s Development Committees, the President affirmed that the amendments would further enable the efforts to promote better health for women and children. He also spoke about the new duties and responsibilities bestowed upon local councils with the amendment to the law.