20 July 2005 Male’, Maldives – Muli Regional Hospital is almost fully operational and has the capacity for safe and clean deliveries, says Dr. Manuel Carballo, UNFPA Consultant from the International Centre for Migration and Health.

Dr. Carballo believes that it is a credit to the national and international staff of Muli Hospital who have worked so hard to re establish the services after the Tsunami with UNFPA’s help.

UNFPA continues to monitor and evaluate progress of reconstruction efforts and evolving needs in relation to reproductive health and psychosocial health of displaced population, a field visit to Meemu Muli and Kolhufushi was conducted on 19th July in this regard. UNFPA is concerned with the distance women have to travel to access antenatal care and it has now placed an obstetrician/gynaecologist in Muli Regional Hospital in order to strengthen outreach services and improve the capacity of health staff on the other islands to provide care to pregnant women and women during labour.

Although the displaced population in Kolhufushi is clearly not living in perfect conditions, the UNFPA mission that visited island feels that major progress is being made and that the overall living conditions of displaced people have improved enormously over the last three months.

Overcrowding is no longer a major problem and access to essential services such as water and electricity is good. Some changes are nevertheless called for and UNFPA is making a series of recommendations with respect to the importance of ensuring privacy for displaced people, improving the number of toilet facilities and increasing the amount of lighting in public areas.

Problems of dependency on external assistance are also emerging. Care will have to be taken not to allow this dependency to become chronic and eclipse the natural capacities of the communities concerned.

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