Muscat – Oman has become the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) to be awarded a certification of validation of the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis.
The certificate will be presented in an official ceremony to be held under the patronage of H E Dr Hilal bin Ali al Sabti, Minister of Health, on Wednesday in the presence of several high-ranking local and international health officials.
With the validation, Oman has succeeded in achieving the target of a global health strategy for the period 2022-2030, which aims to realise the goal of ending MTCT of HIV in at least 50 countries by 2025, and in 100 countries by 2030.
The ceremony will include an opening speech by Dr Saif Salim al Abri, Director General of Disease Surveillance and Control, Ministry of Health, a recorded statement by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, and a statement by Dr Ahmed Salim al Mandhari, Regional Director of Eastern Mediterranean Region, WHO.
A recorded speech of Adele Khodr, Regional Director of Unicef, will also be delivered, while Dr Shereen el Feki, Regional Director of Unaids, will deliver a live speech at the ceremony.
The EMTCT of HIV and syphilis project was launched in Oman by a Ministerial Decision (No 108/2020) on July 28, 2020. The decision stipulated the formation of a national committee to revise and improve the policies concerning the EMTCT of HIV and syphilis project.
The committee, with 17 experts from various specialties, was divided into four areas that formed the foundational requirements for validation – programme and service delivery, data and laboratory, human rights and gender equality, and community involvement.
Each area involved an independent technical working group that reviewed activities according to WHO assessment lists by conducting interviews and visits to concerned work sites in addition to documenting the achievements and areas for improvements.
Outcomes were then presented at the national committee meeting for discussion and action. Several meetings and deliberations were held with WHO experts in Oman, EMR office in Cairo, and WHO Headquarters, Geneva.
‘It is due to Oman’s firm commitment to policy and public health, a resilient health system, and access to high quality maternal and child services,’ the Ministry of Health stated.