Fifty years since the dawn of the Omani renaissance, the heath sector has seen remarkable achievements. The most prominent of these achievements is the expansion of tertiary care facilities providing specialised services in all governorates. These developments have contributed to reducing the mortality rate in the country.
Various international organisations engaged in the health sector have praised the efficiency and effectiveness of Oman’s healthcare system in serving all strata of society.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has opened and upgraded many specialised centres that provide secondary or tertiary healthcare in all governorates. According to current figures, there are 50 hospitals offering 5,049 beds in the country.
Additionally, there are 211 health centres/extended health centres, including 54 health centres with 95 beds and 22 extended health centres.
The total number of healthcare workers in MoH, who have played a significant role in achieving the developments in the sector, was 394,000 at the end of 2019 compared to 393,000 at the end of 2018. According to MoH’s Annual Health Book, at the end of 2019, there were 6,419 doctors, 14,491 nursing staff and 738 pharmacists. There were a total of 15.7mn outpatient visits, and 331,000 patients were discharged following hospitalisation in 2019.
In terms of human resources development, Omanisation level in the MoH currently stands at 72 per cent. Omanisation among consultant doctors is 70 per cent, nursing staff – 65 per cent, dentists – 84 per cent, pharmacists – 93 per cent, and assistant pharmacist – 81 per cent. Following the graduation of the Omani students currently enrolled in various specialist programmes in several universities and colleges, Omanisation rates will significantly rise among medical and paramedical medical facilities in the near future.
In efforts to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, MoH opened the first phase of a field hospital for COVID-19 patients on the premises of the old Muscat Airport. This hospital is helping reduce the burden on hospitals across the governorate. The first phase of the hospital is equipped with 100 beds, but the facility will eventually have 312-bed capacity. The ministry is also in the process of establishing an intensive care unit in the field hospital.
A shelter centre will be attached to the field hospital, spread over 10,000sqm, with a capacity of 384 beds. There will be provision of converting the shelter into a hospital if the need arose.
The field hospital is spread over 6,100sqm and is equipped with beds for mild and moderate cases, a temporary care section, a pharmacy, a laboratory and a radiology section. It is run by a medical team from the MoH comprising 30 doctors, 115 male and female nurses, seven lab technicians, seven assistant pharmacists and seven radiologists.
The MoH is currently evaluating the Ninth Five-Year Health Development Plan (2016-2020) to assess the achievements and goals set at the beginning of the plan. It is also doing a comprehensive evaluation of the health status in the sultanate, as it is considered the cornerstone of the Tenth Five-Year Health Development Plan (2021-2025) and Oman Vision 2040.