Upgrading services

PROGRESS content 2013 file.indd

HE Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid al Sa`eedi,

Minister of Health

As the nation completes 45 momentous years of Renaissance, I would like first to salute the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Over the years, he has built a solid foundation for all Omani citizens, one that is rooted in harmony, enterprise and opportunity. No doubt, enormous progress was attained in our country in the past 45 years allowing people to live a long, healthy life, and to enjoy a decent standard of living. This progress was not attributable to oil and gas earnings only, but also to impressive wise leadership that had resulted in long-term improvements in health, education and social services. For more than four decades, the health system in Oman has proven itself adept at reducing significantly or eliminating health problems that were common in the past. Concurrently, Oman is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Under-five mortality rate has dropped from 35 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 11.8 in 2013. Infant mortality rate has also dropped from 29 to 9.8 deaths for every 1000 live births. A rising lifespan is another telling indicator of how far Oman has come over the past years. The average life expectancy at birth in the Sultanate stands now at 76.6 years in 2013.

In January 2013, the Ministry of Health (MOH) won an award for being the best ministry supporting social responsibility in the Arab world. In March, during Med health Cairo 2013, the Arab Hospitals Federation bestowed the MOH with the ‘Pioneer Leadership Award in Healthcare’ for its contribution in developing the healthcare sector and implementing efficient strategies aimed at raising awareness and provide Omani citizens with high quality healthcare services. In May, the MOH’s Mother and child system won WSIS Project Prize in Geneva, Switzerland, in the category of ICT Application – e-health. The award came in recognition of the success made by the maternity and childhood care system of the MOH in providing primary comprehensive prenatal and postnatal healthcare as well as birth spacing at the different primary health care centers and hospitals. In the same month, the MOH AL-Massara psychiatric Hospital project was one of GCC Winners of the MEED Quality Awards for projects in the category of ‘Oman Social project of the year.’ Independently and professionally judged, the award that was delivered in Abu Dubai, UAE recognised the extraordinary skills required to deliver such a first-class project on time and within budget and expressed the talents of those working on it in full measure.

Currently, the total number of health institutions of the MOH is 244, including 203 health centers and 49 hospitals with a total number of hospital beds amounting to 4,892. Recently, the primary healthcare institutions have been upgraded and expanded in all governorates. Realising the importance of strengthening the other end of health care, namely curative secondary and tertiary care, the MOH  has planned for the construction of a medical city as well as a number of new hospitals in different wilayats and upgrading selected departments in the existing ones in response to the needs of the population and the change in the health profile towards non- communicable diseases, which usually require higher levels of medical care. Moreover, in order to empower people with health education, the MOH, in partnership with a pioneer digital signage Oman company, has launched a new TV channel “HAYAH” in May 2013. The channel focuses on health education and is broadcast to 23 health centers in Muscat.

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