The most expensive spa in the world is in the Maldives.
That’s because the Maldivian government charges a whopping 10,000 shillings per hour for an average massage.
That means that if you’re in your late twenties, you’ll spend about 10 minutes and a half getting your arms and legs massaged by a woman who’s been in the business for 30 years.
And that’s if you’ve been paying attention.
“There’s nothing worse than waiting 20 minutes in line for a massage,” says Sami Kaya, a 22-year-old student in the US.
“And when it comes to getting a massage, we’ve been getting this treatment since we were babies.”
As a result, in the past decade the Maldi government has increased the amount of money it spends on massage therapy.
In 2010, the Maldis government paid the US$1.2 million to a local masseur.
In 2015, it paid a reported US$6.5 million.
In 2016, the government also paid US$9.2 billion for massage therapy services in the country.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Maldives spends an enormous amount of cash to treat its citizens,” says the Maldifis prime minister, Dr. Mohamed Nasheed.
“I think it’s one of the reasons we have so many new health clinics.”
And in recent years, the country has started to improve its healthcare infrastructure.
In 2007, Maldives government started a national health care system, which is supposed to be able to provide universal healthcare to all people.
But it only covered a fraction of the country’s population.
“Since the first few years of the system, we have seen a massive drop in the number of new patients coming to the hospitals, which has resulted in an increase in hospitalizations,” says Dr. Kaya.
“More than 80 percent of the population has already received care at least once a month, but a lot of people in the middle of the day have not.”
In 2016 alone, the medical department spent US$3.3 billion to treat patients, a drop of over 80 percent.
But as the country looks to spend more on healthcare in the future, some people are worried that the country may not be able pay for its healthcare.
And while the government is planning to pay for a new healthcare system, it is not yet clear what the new system will look like.
“We need to have a clear picture about the healthcare system,” says Kaya’s father.
“So that we can get to a clear decision.”
“It is a shame that the government has not been able to find a solution to the issue of healthcare.”