Sultanate ranks high in social welfare index

MUSCAT, Dec 5 – Oman’s performance in social welfare expenditure on the international index ranking is relatively high. This was revealed in a report by Unesco in cooperation with National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). According to the report, Oman is among the top five per cent of countries in the world providing free-of-cost universal health coverage to its citizens. “Even though Oman lags behind 38 other countries in income and behind 59 other countries in consumption, Omani citizens enjoy a higher level of health protection than citizens in the majority of wealthier countries,” says the report.

On the overall Child Well-Being and Empowerment Index (CWEI), Oman scores high with 82.08 among the 94 countries with comparable data on 16 indicators. Countries scoring higher than Oman are industrialised countries, the report noted. On the Learn and Achieve Index, Oman could improve the efficiency of its school system, which will make Oman’s scores higher on both net enrolment and gross enrolment indices. “This means addressing late enrolment, overage and underage students, and repetition,” points out the report.

Oman’s performance is excellent with regard to the Youth Literacy Index and Youth Literacy Gender Index, while it needs to address low pre-primary enrolment and pay special attention to boys’ enrolment. On the Enjoy a Decent Home Index, Oman ranks high on all three component indices — water, sanitation and electricity access. However, many countries, including some with lower income than Oman, have higher indices due to greater scores on the Safe Water Index. Differences between international methods and Oman’s methods for collecting and classifying water and sanitation data could be an issue and needs to be resolved.
At the same time, Oman scores high on the Stay Safe and Protected Index.
Omani society and government have created an environment for the child with the highest levels of protection against adolescent births and substance use: Oman is near the top in terms of being free from drug use.
In terms of the Birth Age Index, Oman scores high with a rank of 40. However, this could improve. On the other hand, poor road safety and high smoking rates hold back Oman’s performance on the SSP Index.
On the Survive and Thrive Index, Oman ranks near the top with a perfect score of 100 on the nourishment (which reflects food security) and DPT Immunisation Indices.
“Addressing neonatal mortality and fertility will improve Oman’s Survive and Thrive Index to the same level as in industrialised countries,” adds the report.

SAMUEL KUTTY