The ceremony was held under the patronage of H H Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq bin Taimour al Said, advisor to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, in the presence of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) and H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid al Saeedi, Minister of Health along with a number of their highnesses and excellencies.
The national plan aims at reducing the premature deaths resulting from NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025, and has eight chapters addressing various aspects of prevention and control.
It focuses on combating four main diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes. In addition, the plan addresses the main risk factors including lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet and smoking, as well focusing on the awareness and media aspects. All relevant sectors were involved in developing this plan, which was revised by the WHO team and has been translated into English.
Addressing the gathering, H E Dr Saeedi said that the launch is a result of the collective work which lasted for nearly two years involving all health relevant sectors and a number of national and international partners. It has resulted in a national policy to address the priorities and challenges of the health system in the sultanate.
H E Dr Saeedi added that NCDs are the real risk and one of the biggest challenges to development in the 21st century. They represent the major cause of morbidity and mortality global wise.
According to WHO, these diseases kill 38mn people annually; half of them are under the age of 70.
In the sultanate, 72.9 per cent of deaths are approximately attributed to NCDs, of which 24.3 per cent are due to cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, seven per cent due to cancers, and 2.2 per cent due to diabetes, according to statistics in 2016.
He said that the ministry is strengthening the participation of all related sectors in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Ministers.
In this regard, a Ministerial Decision was issued in 2015 on the formulation of a National Committee for Non-Communicable Diseases headed by the MoH Undersecretary for Planning Affairs.
At the event, Dr Ghebreyesus said that Oman has witnessed a dramatic transition in the burden of disease.
“NCDs are now the leading cause of premature mortality in this country. More than half of all Omanis are now overweight or obese. One in four Omani adults have high blood pressure,” he said.
“The prevalence of diabetes has increased by almost 50 per cent since 1991. This is not only devastating from a human point of view, it also has a devastating economic impact, both in terms of the costs of treating people with long-term illnesses, and in terms of lost productivity.”