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Rights on track

The Sultanate has much to be proud of its overall social welfare record. The government has taken particular care to follow an inclusive development paradigm so as to ensure that no community is left behind. What is of particular import is that all sections of the nation’s demographics are covered by the welfare envelope. This ensures that no deserving category is left out. The government has been particularly careful to direct more attention on the vulnerable groups like children, women and the elderly. There is no doubt that the Sultanate has got its priorities right. That has helped it score consistently well on several socioeconomic developmental indices. The authorities all deserve praise for programmes that have helped the nation to rank first in the Gulf Cooperation Council and third in the Arab world in the latest child rights index. The highly respected KidsRights Index 2017, published by child rights foundation KidsRights and Rotterdam’s Erasmus University School of Economics, has seen even many developed nations fall dismally from their previous rankings. In fact the Sultanate is the only other nation of the Mena region apart from Egypt in the first 23 positions in the worldwide index. The Sultanate scored 0.822 points overall based on the nation’s impressive performance in different parameters of child care that were taken into account by the experts. The international ranking rights takes into account five criteria: child rights for life, health, education, protection and child-friendly environment. The right to live index is computed on the basis of the mortality rate of children below five years old. The health parameter is measured on the basis of rate of underweight children below five years, universality of the vaccination programme and rate of use of sanitary drainage as well as rate of use of potable water.

The Sultanate’s social welfare programmes are worthy of emulation because of their unique qualities. The nation’s success shows that well-directed use of resources accompanied by efficient delivery mechanisms can produce excellent results even at low costs. The Sultanate is one of the bigger nations of GCC with a large chunk of rural and semi-urban population. Some areas could be considered really remote by the standards of developed West. The Sultanate could still score well on healthcare front because of its efficient delivery systems and dedicated personnel. The government has been giving decisive leadership in matters affecting people’s welfare and the efforts have been paying off. The Sultanate’s three-tier healthcare system with primary, referral and specialty institutions have been appreciated by public health experts world over as worthy of emulation. The network of primary health centres are spread across the nation reaching the remotest parts. The second level of referral institutions in urban areas has quality facilities that compares well with the best available across the Mena region. The specialty institutions are centres of excellence and have been appreciated by experts from around the world. The Ministry of Health has also been running specialised programmes targeting disadvantaged demographic segments like women with mobile mammography service and mobile oncology unit. They go a long way in keeping the nation’s health profile high. The people’s health awareness is high and helps with high rate of success in preventive health care.