India tops the list of the Ministry of Health's (MoH) most preferred treatment destinations for Omani patients. MoH statistics of the past two decades show that over 70 per cent of patients were sponsored for treatment in India, followed by over 12 per cent to the UK.
The ministry's 2011 annual health report, released in 2012-end, shows that between 1990 and 2011, 3,944 Omani patients underwent treatment in different hospitals across the world at the ministry's expense.
Of these, 2,767 were treated in India, 511 in UK, 115 in Jordan, 108 in Thailand, 87 in Germany, 28 in Saudi Arabia, 20 in UAE and 308 in other countries including Kuwait, Egypt, China, Pakistan, France, Iran, Qatar, Lebanon, Holland, Spain, Australia, the US and Syria.
The number of patients receiving treatment in India grew over the years, while of those being treated in the UK came down. In 1990, 418 Omani patients went abroad for treatment on the ministry's expense. Of these, 172 went to the UK, 109 were sent to India, 115 to Jordan and 22 to other countries.
However in 2011, of the 737 patients, 623 were sent to India, only 22 to the UK, 20 to UAE, 19 to Saudi Arabia, 17 to Thailand, ten to Germany and 26 to other countries.
From 1990 to 2011, the maximum number of patients sent to India were for treatment of ophthalmic diseases (654), PET CT Scan (563; 264 in 2011 alone) and orthopaedic ailments (551; 140 in 2011).
An MoH official said, “The maximum number of patients are sent to India because of its proximity to our country. Treatment can begin immediately and there are similarities in the cultures of Oman and India. This helps people relate to the land.
“We also host a lot of Indian doctors here and patients are sent to different countries based on their advice. They do a good job and provide advice keeping in mind where the best possible treatment is available.”
A break-up of the 3,944 patients whose treatment abroad was sponsored by the Ministry of Health between 1990-2011:
Saudi Arabia 28
Other countries 308