The significant progress achieved by the Sultanate in the health of children again received a pat from United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). While millions of young lives are lost every year globally due to various reasons including lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare, Oman has reduced the infant mortality rate to a remarkable level.
According to the latest figures from the Unicef, deaths among children under-five years of age have fallen to 70 per cent.
While commending the significant strides that the country has made, the international agency said, “Oman’s efforts to promote quality and accessible healthcare services have paid off”.
All children have the right to survive and thrive! But many do not make it past their first year.
“Luckily, #Oman’s efforts in providing quality and accessible health services have succeeded in reducing children under-five mortality rates by 70 per cent since 1990 to date”, Unicef said in a statement posted in its Twitter handle.
According to Unicef, 2.6 million babies die every year before turning one month old. One million of them take their first and last breaths on the day they are born. Another 2.6 million are stillborn.
“Each of these deaths is a tragedy, especially because the vast majority are preventable”, the agency noted.
Millions of young lives could be saved every year if mothers and babies had access to affordable, quality healthcare, good nutrition and clean water. But far too often, even these basics are out of reach of the mothers and babies who need them most.
Deaths among children aged 1 month to 5 years old have fallen dramatically in recent decades. But progress in reducing the deaths of newborn babies — those aged less than 1 month — has been less impressive, with 7,000 newborns still dying every day.
“This is partly because newborn deaths are difficult to address with a single drug or intervention — they require a system — wide approach. It is also due to a lack of momentum and global commitment to newborn survival. We are failing the youngest, most vulnerable people on the planet — and with so any millions of lives at stake, time is of the essence,” Unicef said in a report released last week.
In terms of determinants of child health and nutrition in Oman, which included maternal health and nutritional status, the study said that the Sultanate has extensive coverage of antenatal and institutional delivery services, and nine out of 10 registered pregnant women receive postnatal care services and all women with live births attended a postnatal clinic at least once after delivery.
Such high coverage by maternal health services has led to a decrease in the maternal mortality rate in the Sultanate.
The WHO/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme (JMHS) reported last year that 90 per cent of Oman’s population had access to good water sources and sanitation facilities which in turn remained a determinant of child health.
Three-fourths of the dwellings in the Sultanate benefited from piped water distribution system or public water points provided by the government that is subject to a quality control of constantly monitoring the chemical and microbiological standards.