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Oman Healthcare
 
 
 

General

Healthcare development has been a key priority for the Sultanate government. The Ministry of Health is committed to the belief that health is a basic right for every citizen and therefore, the Sultanate has adhered to international resolutions of providing health services for all. Medical care is essentially free for all Omani citizens, however nominal charges for services are being considered. In 1989, the Government extended free healthcare to the nationals of other member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

Between 1990 and 1997 public health expenditure was equivalent to 2.5% of GDP, in 1997 government expenditure on health amounted to US $279.04 million (approx.) The ministry bears approximately 90% of contributions in health services for Omani citizens.

Health and preventative services have expanded throughout the country and the Sultanate has been acclaimed for such achievements by all international forums and organisations. Oman was awarded first place in healthcare delivery efficiency and utilisation of financial resources by the World Health Organisation, in its analysis of national systems (July 2000), the survey covered 191 countries. Oman also took eighth position for the provision of the most comprehensive and effective healthcare system at the world level.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for the delivery of healthcare services in the Sultanate. Within the Ministry, three under-secretaries have responsibility for Planning, Health and Administrative/Financial Affairs respectively. There are ten health regions in Oman, two in each of the administrative regions of Sharqiya and Batinah, and one in each of the Governorates of Muscat, Dhofar and Musandam and the remaining regions of Ad Dakhilya, Adh Dhahira and Al-Wusta. The regions are further divided into 59 Wilayats, or district councils. Since 1976, the ministry has devised health development plans and is currently on the Sixth Health Development Plan. This plan is expected to concentrate on expanding and improving primary health facilities in the villages and townships, and providing additional specialist treatment centres, thus decreasing the number of patients required to travel abroad for treatment.

Primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare is available to 90% of the Omani population through well-equipped hospitals and health centres and the remaining 10% rely on mobile clinics. There is no national ambulance service, however, the police generally transport accident victims to a hospital. There are approximately 47 hospitals (13 of which are considered referral centres/hospitals) and 119 health centres. A number of public sector organisations provide free healthcare to employees and dependants, these include the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Oman Police and Petroleum Development Oman (the national oil company).

The Ministry of Health supports and encourages private sector participation in the health sector. In 1999 there were 491 private clinics and two private hospitals. The first private hospital was opened in 1995 and two years ago the first consultant-based private hospital was opened in Muscat. A 30-bed women and children's hospital was opened in September 2000. In addition, there are approximately 40 dental clinics in the private sector.

Healthcare Benefits For Expatriates

As of August 2001 all expatriates seeking residency and employment in Oman must have a health certificate from their home country stating that they are free from illness and not carrying any communicable diseases. In addition, children aged 12 and above will also need to supply certificates when applying for a residency permit.

Oman has a very high standard of healthcare. Medical professionals from all over the world staff hospitals in the capital, Muscat. Emergency treatment is available at the Royal Hospital 24 hours a day. There are numerous good health clinics that employ a number of male and female GPs and nurses. Treatment can be expensive and payment is required immediately, therefore it is advisable to ensure that medical insurance is up to date. Pharmacies are located in all main residential and commercial areas.


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