Tuesday, December 07
01:37 AM

Health – A national priority

17 Nov 2021 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Oman’s healthcare sector has developed by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. With Oman Vision 2040 – that makes health a national priority – remarkable advances are in the offing. Health professionals speak of the changes, developments or innovations they would they like to see in the sector.

Dr Mazin al Khabouri
Director general, Private Health Establishments, Ministry of Health

Advances in biotechnology and stem cell sciences along with miniaturisation and computer power have opened new vistas in the prospect of healthier lives. Opening of the genetic code will predict the potential weaknesses in an individual and warn of the diseases which such a person may encounter. Genetic engineering, as shown in the amazing development of the Covid mRNA vaccine, would directly target areas at the cellular level to prevent or limit damages from diseases. It would also be used to switch off inherited harmful genetic codes in the DNA or switch on beneficial ones. Stem cells would be used to repair or replace damaged areas in the body and strengthen areas of potential damage. All this would be profiled as soon as or even before a child is born.

In Oman, with the opening of the SQU Cancer Centre, Hematology Centre, Ministry of Health Diabetic Centre, Oncology Centre, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Centre, Cardiac Centre, Genetic Centre at The Royal Hospital, IVF Centre at Khoula Hospital, and similar centres in other governorates would ensure that the above vision of the future finds a fertile ground in Oman. The extensive use of IT for remote patient access in primary and secondary care will ensure better and timely healthcare for all areas in Oman.

Dr Laila Harub
Dentist, Harub Dental Surgery

In the next 50 years, I would like to see more bridging between the private and government sectors. I would like to see a proper referral system in place, something I have been calling for since I came back to Oman in 2009.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, I would hope that together we realise that investing in health is the most crucial thing to focus on. I refuse the excuse that we can’t do A, B and C because we don’t have funds. If that is the case, then it is high time we threw funds towards the health sector. I thank all the nurses, medical staff and medical practitioners for all the continuous efforts in caring for us.

Marcelo Pereira
CEO, Oman International Hospital

All over the world, technology has been revolutionising all sectors of activity. The health sector is no exception. This technological revolution has led to more accurate, faster and less risky diagnoses, better prepared health professionals, newer drugs and medications with reduced side effects, and faster recovery. The sultanate is one of the few countries worldwide that has achieved a dramatic transformation in its health status over a short span of time. From just two hospitals in 1960s, today Oman boasts of nearly 100+ hospitals. Oman’s Health Vision 2050 outlines a vision for the future of the sultanate, a remarkable foresight by the government. But there could be a few challenges too. Providing healthcare for all, regardless of their economic status, is a challenge faced by all governments due to allocation of resources. An increase in the supply of health services and stimulus by the state and insurance operators should allow for improvement in standards and the expansion of access to differentiated care.

Abdul Latheef
Managing director, Badr al Samaa Grou
p of Hospitals

The healthcare sector of Oman is ever evolving and newer technologies and expertise are added regularly to match international standards. One strong pillar of a safe and quality healthcare delivery system is the protocol driven operation laid by the Ministry of Health.

The healthcare system of Oman will witness a paradigm shift in the next 50 years, including full expansion of the virtual ICU system where a critical care specialist can remotely monitor ICU patients and advise treatment plans.
Artificial intelligence will create direct interfaces between humans and technology which will have significant application in patient treatment.

Virtual reality will help see inside the human body and take patients through their treatment plan, including surgeries, virtually. It will help doctors plan precision surgeries.
Extensive use of robotic surgery will help doctors perform complex surgeries with precision and control as compared to conventional ­surgeries, and advancement in healthcare will help retain outgoing medical tourism patients and generate inbound medical tourism.

Aadil Thomas Alexander
Managing director, AdLife Hospital

With advancements in customised healthcare technology, increasing awareness on personal fitness and wellness, and improving access to high quality medical professional assistance, in the next 50 years the sultanate can aim to be the healthiest nation in the world.

Starting with state-of-the-art care for infants and mothers, we should be able to provide multiple options for the best possible physical and mental health for citizens of all age groups. A half a century is a long time in the technology horizon and the power of IoT, AI, machine learning and Blockchain will no doubt revolutionise the healthcare sector so that everyone will be able to live their lives to the fullest with the safety and confidence provided by the healthcare system.

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