Call to increase spending on health sector

MUSCAT: The Majlis Ash’shura approved a report prepared by the joint committee of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura regarding the points of disagreements between the two councils on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill, the Privatisation Bill, the Public-Private Partnership Bill and the Foreign Capital Investment Bill.

The Majlis Ash’shura held its 16th regular session of the year on Tuesday. During the session, the council approved the Health and Environment Committee’s report regarding Omanisation in private healthcare sector, as well as the Youth and Human Resources Committee’s report on reality and challenges facing the sports sector in the Sultanate. The council also approved the Sultanate’s joining the amended Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery. Besides, the council ratified the passenger and cargo land transport agreement between the Sultanate and Egypt.

The Health and Environment Committee’s report pointed to low spending on healthcare sector in the Sultanate compared to other countries. The government spends 2.2 per cent of GDP on health, while the minimum global health expenditure stands at 5 per cent of the GDP. The study revealed a shortage of medical specialists compared to general practitioners with the former constituting only 30 per cent of the total number of doctors of whom 26 per cent are nationals.

The study found shortage in certified training facilities for medical staff which meet international standards. Another problem cited by the study is the accumulation of jobseekers due to the suspension of the budget allotted to the replacement process by the Ministry of Civil Service.

The study recommended rise in expenditure on health to a minimum of 5 per cent of GDP, enabling Omani doctors to continue their higher studies, and help them qualify for specialist and adviser positions. The study also recommended establishing a supreme medical council to be responsible for laying down policies, plans and legislations for the healthcare sector.

The chairman of the Youth andHuman Resources Committee said the study stems from the nonexistence of a clear vision on sports sector, which also suffers from limitedfinancial resources and lags in terms of legislations and organisation. The study came out with a number of recommendations including devising a new strategy in line with national priorities of the Oman Vision
2040, fostering integrated relationship between the Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Olympic Committee, associations, games committees and sports clubs, as well as enhancing financial and administrative oversight on sports authorities.

The council approved the Media and Culture Committee’s report regarding Oman Cultural Channel and its role in highlighting Oman’s culture. The study pointed to poor promotion of the channel both locally and internationally, in addition to lack of children’s shows and the channel’sinability to attract youth. The study said that the channel focuses on traditional and heritage overlooking
modern developments associated with technology and the information age. The council also approved the Media and Culture Committee’s report on principles for ethical professional practice which aim at regulating social media platforms and curbing rumours.

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