Healthcare in the Maldives
The Maldives has recorded significant achievement in human development. The infant mortality rate which was 63 in 1986 is now 30 per 1 000 births (1996) and the overall mortality rate (crude death rate) which was 17 per five 1000 in 1971 is now five per live 1000. The crude birth rate, which stood at 49 per 1000 in 1985, has fallen to 26 per 1000 in 1996, showing a decline of about 40 percent. In 1995, the average life expectancy at birth had increased to 70.6 years. This meant about 20 years have been added to the life expectancy of a Maldivian at birth since 1980.
Notable achievements have also been made in the control of communicable diseases. There has been no indigenous case of malaria seen for the past ten years. At the end of 1995, incidence rate of leprosy was 0.1 and the prevalence rate was 0.3 per thousand. Thus, the Maldives is very close to achieve zero transmission status, with respect to leprosy. Tuberculosis, which had a prevalence of 35 cases per thousand in 1974, had declined in 1995 to about 0.66 per 1000. Childhood TB (under 5 years) is almost nil for the past three years due to the high rate of BCG vaccination. By the end of 1996, a total of 57 TB cases were under treatment.
The progress recorded in the field of health is thus quite significant. In order to meet further health targets and provide better health services, the Ministry of Health held discussions in December 1996 to formulate a ten-year health master plan.