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Infectious diseases burden low in Oman

22 Sep 2021 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat: A unique global index that uses groundbreaking technology to track infectious diseases and transform how the world reacts to future crises has found Oman and most of the Middle East in ‘Low Burden’ category in terms of the burden of endemic diseases.

The Global Infectious Diseases Index tracks infectious diseases under broad categories of diarrhoea, lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and also tracks separately various epidemic causing pathogens, including the SARS coronavirus, Dengue virus and Measles virus, among others, in 204 countries.

While the overall burden of endemic diseases for Oman is low, it is moderate for diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory tract infections and HIV/AIDS. The burden is also low for malaria and tuberculosis.

Developed by Future Investment Initiative Institute, the index uses a specially designed artificial intelligence (AI) tool to track pathogens around the world and provide key data to help prepare for and fight infectious diseases.

Recorded in near real time, it was developed in partnership with the global pioneer in infectious disease risk solutions Metabiota and leading technology consulting firm Accenture.

The index tracks up to 60 pathogens, including those behind COVID-19, dengue and measles, and is designed to increase global awareness about infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV, as well as reduce threats and provide valuable insights to drive decision making.

According to the index, the burden of endemic diseases is measured by Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 population – a metric that combines years of life lost due to premature mortality and years of healthy life lost due to disability.

The index provides other parameters for Oman, like the number of medical and medical support staff (6.2/1,000 people), number of hospital beds (1.5/ 1,000), health expenditure (per cent GDP – 4.10 per cent), population with basic immunisation (99 per cent), population with access to basic water (92 per cent) and population with access to basic sanitation (100 per cent).

Commenting on the index, Richard Attias, CEO of Future Investment Initiative Institute, said he is proud of the collaborative work done to harness the technology required to provide these valuable analytics.

“The insights the index will provide will prepare governments and health services to take informed decisions that will help humanity,” he said. “It removes the complexities of infectious diseases data and delivers a simple and intuitive global view.”

The integrated data also includes countries ranked by Highest Healthcare Expenditure (as a percentage of GDP), the number of people per country vaccinated for each disease and in-depth information on medical professionals and services.

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