COVID-19 information accessible for majority of the Maldivian population: UN

A survey conducted by the UN has shown the majority of the Maldivian population are able to access information on COVID-19.

The UN Women’s Regional Office for South Asia and the Pacific carried out a survey to assess the accessibility of COVID-19 information to population groups in different countries. The results of the survey carried out in the Maldives, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh have now been published.

The survey report states 4,754 people took part in the survey carried out in the Maldives. The results of the survey indicate 83% of the women and 76% of the men who took part in the survey received adequate information regarding COVID-19 and got the chance to prepare for the pandemic. Comparatively, 79% women and 57% men were reported to have received adequate information in the Philippines, while the figures in Pakistan and Bangladesh were below 50%.

While the number of deaths due to COVID-19 are higher among men, the survey indicates the pandemic generally causes more psychological distress to women, attributing to the increase in time spent taking care of children and the elderly as well as increased household chores and reduced income. The survey report also states domestic abuse of women has increased amid the lockdown imposed in countries due to the pandemic.

The results of the survey indicate 68% women and 56% men have been psychologically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The percentage of women affected in the Maldives was the joint highest among four countries, along with Phillipines. Meanwhile, the psychological effect on men was the highest in Bangladesh with 66%, which was even greater than the 62% women who were psychologically affected in the country.

The survey also indicates the Maldives has the highest population coverage of health insurance among the four countries. As such, 30% men and 28% women in the Maldives were reported to be covered by health insurance. The report states while the majority of the population is covered by the universal health insurance scheme of Aasandha Company Limited, several people find difficulties in arranging insurance for components of the healthcare system not covered by Aasandha.

The report by the UN states the global population has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the effects are not expected to be fully overcome in the near future. Different institutions under the UN flagship have been conducting surveys to identify the social and economic impact of COVID-19 on different population groups.