Oman sees 43pc fall in infant mortality rate

Infant mortality rate among Omani population has come down by 43 per cent in the last two decades, Dr Fatima al Hinai, Director, Women and Child Health Department, Ministry of Health (MoH), has said.
Speaking to the Observer on the sidelines of the announcement of Birth Spacing (BS) Programme along with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Al Hinai said the reduced infant mortality marks Oman’s successful march towards achieving 70 per cent of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG). “We have marched from just 27 per cent in 1995.”
She said the reduction in infant mortality rate is a “quantum leap towards achieving a fully healthy society”. MoH’s awareness programmes on birth spacing have brought desired results in the last 23 years.
The average child-birth rate per woman has dropped to 3.2 from the 1980s rate of 10 per woman, contributing to the mental and physical health of Omani women.
It has also enabled women to take part in nation-building process along with their male counterparts.
“The notable reasons behind this is said to be advancement of science that has helped eradicate most of the communicable diseases, and advanced healthcare facilities at all levels,” she said. A longer maternity leave is the need of the hour for achieving further growth in women’s empowerment, she said.
“Maternity leave needs to be increased from 50 days to 90 days with a view to moulding healthier mother-child relations and supporting working women.”
The UNFPA, in association with the MoH, will be highlighting the need for birth spacing in health centres across the country as part of the World Population Day 2017, which will be celebrated in Oman on July 11.
Themed ‘Birth Spacing — Empowering People, Developing Nations’, the day will remind stakeholders of the long call for adhering to the 2014 MoH plan to strengthen the BS Programme.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, sub-regional office for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in cooperation with World Health Organization (WHO) Oman, conducted a Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) study on contraceptive use as continuing support to the Birth Spacing (BS) Programme of MoH in Oman.
The BS Programme was launched in October 1994 as an integral part of the maternal and child healthcare services.
Its goals include improving health of mothers, children and families, reducing maternal and infant mortality.
It also includes providing necessary skills to health providers in order to ensure quality service delivery as well as raising awareness of the benefits of BS for the
well-being of mothers and their children.