Situation of children in the Maldives
Facts and figures
Over the last four decades, the Maldives has experienced massive economic development and social transformation. In the early 1980s, the small island nation was one of the world’s poorest; today, the Maldives is an upper-middle-income country with well on its way to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and coverage of essential health and education services, and improvement of living conditions. The Maldives was the first in South Asia to achieve five of eight Millennium Development Goals before 2015 – making it the first “MDG plus” country in the region. During this period, primary school enrolment improved from 15 percent to 96 percent, life expectancy increased by 30 years, and the under-5 mortality rate fell from 27 percent to 81 percent and the maternal mortality rate from 97 percent to 53 percent.
Primary school participation in the Maldives is universal.
Maternal mortality has decreased 90 percent in just 20 years
Near-universal enrolment in the lower secondary level.
98 percent of youth are literate in Dhivehi and 96 percent are literate in English
Despite these successes, a number of challenges continue to face the children of the Maldives, impacting their ability to live full, healthy lives.
While 8 percent of the Maldives’ total population is income-poor (with almost a third within one or two points of the national poverty line), 28 percent are multidimensionally poor, particularly in health (nutrition and access to health-care facilities) and living standards (safe drinking water, sanitation, and overcrowding).
The mental health of children and young people is regarded as an area of emerging concern. There is limited availability of mental health services. Children with special needs and disability are at particular risk
Most criminal charges brought against children relate to drug offences, including possession and the sale/supply of drugs. Youth involved in gangs are engaged in the sale and supply of drugs.
One in four children aged 13–15 years are bullied in school.
There are two State alternative care institutions for children in the Maldives. As of March 2021, children have been relocated from these two central institutions to new state-run facilities on nine smaller islands. This introduces a new dynamic into small island communities, creating challenges that will need to be addressed.
More girls than boys transitioning to upper secondary level.
The Maldives faces a ‘double burden’ for nutrition: high child malnutrition and high adult obesity. 5 percent of children under the age of 5 years are overweight.
Vaccine coverage reached a high of 93 percent for all vaccines in 2009 but declined to 77 percent in 2017 (DHS, 2016–2017). Vaccination rates vary according to location, with children in Malé more likely to be fully vaccinated than those elsewhere.