Sultanate sees fall in infant mortality rate

By Samuel Kutty — MUSCAT: MARCH 29 – Thanks to the rising living standards and intensive health check-ups, infant mortality rate in the Sultanate has witnessed a significant drop in the recent years. The rate stood at 9.5 per thousand live births in 2015 against 14 deaths in 2014, while it witnessed an all-time high of 11.4 in 2004. Congenital disorders have been attributed to 27 per cent of the deaths. The crude birth rate, which refers to the number of births in a given year per thousand of the population in the middle of that year, reached 34.1 births, while crude death rate was found to be 2.9 per thousand people.

Infant mortality rate is the number of infants dying before reaching one year of age, per 1,000 live births in a given year. Data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information reveals that as many as 538 child deaths, aged below 19 years of age, were reported, accounting for 20.3 per cent of the total deaths in the Sultanate. According to a report by Ministry of Health, almost 99 per cent of pregnant women had access to prenatal and birth services in hospitals, and this was also reflected in the high rate of birth registration of both Omani and non-Omani children.

The country has already adopted its National Strategy for Childhood (2016-2027) and strengthened the National Commission for Family Affairs under the Ministry of Social Welfare. “Oman is committed to creating a sound and protective environment for children in which they could be cared for socially, economically and emotionally”, the ministry said in its annual report. “There were initiatives in place to reinforce child-friendly hospitals by the greater inclusion of communities, a law on formula had been introduced and child-spacing was promoted in families. All those initiatives had resulted in reducing malnutrition to 2.4 per cent,” the report pointed out.