In the pink of health

Under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, Oman could make tremendous development in health care.
In the World Health Organisation’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) index, Oman ranked high in 2017.
The UHC index is based on 16 tracer indicators selected for four service coverage categories, namely reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; infectious diseases; non-communicable diseases; and service capacity and access.
Thanks to a developed health system and a scrupulous attention to child health by the Government, vaccines were made available nationwide and particularly to children, which ensured a 100 per cent childhood immunisation coverage since 2010 till date.
The health system in the country is equipped with an epidemic monitoring system that tracks communicable diseases and ensures optimal preparedness and alertness to counter the risks of global transmission of diseases.
The measures taken by Ministry of Health to combat communicable diseases eradicated many of them including polio, diphtheria, and tetanus, and brought the incidence of the others to endemic levels.
Malaria had remained one of the biggest challenges until the Malaria Eradication Programme was launched in 1991. Registered malaria cases plummeted from around 33,000 in 1990 to almost 1,000 cases in 2017, while the incidence rate reached 0.41 per 100,000 populations.
A decline was also registered in the incidence of tuberculosis to 5.8 per 100,000 populations in 2017, down from 11 in 2010.
The incidence rate of Hepatitis B is extremely low in the Sultanate, as it did not exceed 0.72 cases per 100,000 populations in 2017. Data indicates that no more than 150 cases of HIV (Aids) were registered among Omanis in 2017.
As for the rate of mortality caused by heart and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases among those aged between 30 and 70 years, it registered a decrease from 142.9 per 100,000 populations in 2016 to 138.7 in 2017.
Suicide is a rare phenomenon in the Sultanate where 2.7 individuals per million populations committed suicide in 2017, which reflects the remarkable level of stability in medical and social conditions in the country.
The health system in the country today provides a follow-up of women during pregnancy and up to six months after delivery in order to monitor their health condition, address risk factors, and ensure that the mother and the foetus are in good health.
In fact, 73.3 per cent of pregnant women were registered during the first trimester of their pregnancy in 2017, while less than 1 per cent of those who delivered were not subject to any monitoring during the postnatal period because they were not registered on the pregnancy care record.
Statistics indicate that the percentage of pregnant women who visited antenatal care (ANC) clinics at least 4 times during their pregnancy stood at 73.3 per cent in 2017, while the number of new female outpatients of birth spacing clinics grew by 15.6 per cent from 18,000 women to over 21,000 in 2017.
As a result of this growing interest in birth spacing methods, the number of women who spaced their deliveries by three or more years rose from 35.2 per cent in 2010 to 40.1 per cent in 2017. Moreover, the needs of 38 per cent of married women were met in terms of modern birth spacing methods.
The government also sought to reduce the birth rate among adolescent females by focusing on enabling adolescent girls to pursue education and managed to induce an increase in the average age at first marriage to 26.1 years among females in 2008, in contrast with 20.7 in 1993.
Government efforts also resulted as well in a decline in the adolescent birth rate from 14.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 2015 to 12.5 in 2017.
On the other hand, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) decreased from 26.4 per 100,000 live births in 2010 to 20.2 in 2017. Similarly, the child mortality rate and infant and newborn (aged less than one month) mortality rate dropped to 9.5 and 6.3 per 1,000 live births respectively.
As for children under the age of five, they also registered a decline in mortality rate to 11.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, in contrast with 21.7 in 2000.
The Sultanate is currently in the process of devising future development plans, epitomised in Oman 2040 vision and the future vision of the health care system “Health Vision 2050”.
The Sultanate is engaged in drafting an enhancement and development vision for the period 2020-2040. Oman 2040 Vision revolves around three main themes, namely the Individual and Society, Economy and Development, and Governance and Institutional Performance.