Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, patients in Oman who require intensive care in the country’s hospitals have not been denied it, the Minister of Health has said.
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“This pandemic has shown everybody how strong our healthcare system is,” he said. “We’ve been going for the last 10 months non-stop, and as yet, and I hope it will never happen, we have not deprived any person of an intensive care bed.
“We have not deprived any person from the care they deserve and need during this pandemic,” the minister added. “The reason for all these successes is because of the dedication, hard work and efforts of all the staff in healthcare.”
The total number of people who so far tested positive for the disease was 119,442, while recoveries amounted to 110,050, reflecting a rate of 92 percent. 1,326 people have sadly lost their lives due to the disease, and 318 people were still hospitalised due to COVID-19, as of Thursday.
With Oman’s 50th National Day celebrations coming during the pandemic, the Minister of Health said festivities to mark this have been arranged to avoid large scale gatherings, as they are among the fastest modes of transmitting the disease.
“It is true that the coronavirus hijacked a lot of our freedoms, both in Oman and worldwide,” he admitted.
“The plans for the 50th National Day have been tailored in accordance with this pandemic. This is the message from His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik to everybody: people’s lives are superior to everything else.
He went on to say: “This is one of the most important days in our history, and yet, because of this pandemic, the celebration will be symbolic, the celebration will be mainly virtual, and the reason for this is that gatherings are considered high-risk towards spreading this virus.”
Looking back at the achievements in the country’s healthcare sector over the past five decades, Ahmed Al Saidi also paid tribute to all of the healthcare workers for their efforts in helping limit the spread of the pandemic in the country, as well as the quality of care they have always provided to people.
“There are 57,000 people working in the healthcare sector in Oman,” he explained. “Everything has changed for the better. This would not have happened without the dedication and support of the government, and the hard work of everybody in the country, in particular the staff working in healthcare, to whom I always provide my gratitude.
“Today, we have 83 hospitals in the country, 50 of these belong to the Ministry of Health,” added the minister.
“Others belong to the private sector and other government agencies.We have hundreds of clinics and thousands of pharmacies. In 1970, we had only 13 doctors serving the whole country…today we have more than 9,600 doctors, 1,400 dentists, and more than 20,000 nurses.”
Al Saidi also used data related to the welfare of people in the country to underline the benefits they had experienced over the last 50 years.
“Healthcare in Oman before 1970 was primitive,” explained the minister. “If not all, most of the healthcare was provided by missionary hospitals. We are very grateful for the work they did, and the services they provided us at that time, which was a very difficult period.
He went on to say:
“In 1970, when the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimour, God rest his soul, became the Sultan of Oman, the life expectancy for Omanis was only 49 years for men and 50 years for women.That is very low by any standard.
“Life expectancy jumped in the early 70s from 50 to 77.7 years, in the early 70s,” added Al Saidi. “For every 1,000 children born, 20 to 25 per cent of them used to die before their fifth birthday – that is also a huge number. Today, instead of 180 children dying before the age of five, that number has been reduced to about 10.”
With healthcare a priority during the pandemic, the Minister of Health asked everyone in the country to cooperate with the measures in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The success of healthcare in Oman was because the concentration was on primary healthcare, which is affordable, accessible, and manages most of the cases in the country,” he said.
“Of course, specialised care also has to match that and improve, and I am very proud of what we have achieved so far. His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik’s support towards healthcare is very obvious, and all of us in this sector will do our best to look after you, but you need to help us to look after you as well.”
“Maintaining and improving our achievements is very difficult,” he explained. “It can be easy to reach the top, but staying there can be very difficult, unless we continue the work we are doing now, unless we work together and cooperate with each other.”
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