Sultanate sees drastic decline in expats with infectious diseases

MUSCAT, DEC 10 – The percentage of expatriates entering the GCC countries, including Oman, with infectious diseases has dropped drastically.
This significant achievement was made possible with the mandatory health check-up done in their home countries for visa approval as part of the Expatriates Health Check-up Programme.
“The cases have gradually dropped to 0.5 per cent after the online system,” a statement during the meeting of the Gulf Central Committee for the Programme hosted by Oman’s Ministry of Health here said.
A delegation from the General Secretariat of the GCC states attended the two-day meeting which concluded at City Seasons Hotel Muscat on Monday.
The percentage varied between 17 per cent and 20 per cent before implementing the programme in 1995.
The programme was launched to do pre-departure medical examination of expatriates in their home countries to assess their health fitness and assure that they are free from infectious and other diseases.
The meeting discussed the latest developments of the programme and necessary facilities required in order to implement the decision that was taken during the 37th GCC Supreme Council Session of the GCC leaders held in Bahrain in 2016.
The decision stressed that the GCC embassies, consulates and relevant authorities should ensure the health of the incoming expatriates through the e-link of the Expatriates Health Check-up Programme before issuing visas to enter the GCC countries.
Dr Harib al Lamki, Director-General of Primary Healthcare at the ministry and Member of the Executive Body of the Health Council, while speaking on the occasion, stressed on the importance of the programme.
“The initiative not only ensures fitness and health suitability of expatriates, but also reduces the economic impact from health spending,” said Dr Al Lamki.
Dr Mohammed al Yazidi at the Directorate-General of Diseases Surveillance and Control, Ministry of Health, highlighted many issues including the immunisation programme that the expatriates undergo before entering the GCC countries.
Al Yazidi also reviewed the latest developments of the programme in the Sultanate and the role of the relevant authorities in implementing all the recommendations made at the meeting.