The Sultanate achieved remarkable progress in the status of children’s and women’s health during the past four decades.
A research conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Information in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on children and women in the Sultanate has found out that the country has achieved the fourth Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality.
The average life expectancy has jumped to 76 years from 51 years in 1971. From every 100 children born, 99 children lived for more than five years after birth. Now 98 per cent of children received immunisation compared with the 20 per cent in the 1980s. The progress made on immunisation to reduce the rate of infectious diseases among children has been remarkable, but the rate of diarrhea infection continues to pose a problem in some governorates.
The main causes of infant mortality have been attributed to congenital malformations, prenatal events and complications at childbirth.
The Sultanate also achieved the first target of development goals to reduce the prevalence of underweight of new born by half, and this has led to a decline in the rate of stunted growth among children.
The wheat flour fortification programme launched in 1993 has significantly contributed to the reduction of anaemia and spina bifida (spinal cord paralysis) rates significantly.
In terms of determinants of child health and nutrition, which included maternal health and nutritional status, the study said that the Sultanate has extensive coverage of antenatal and institutional delivery services, and nine out of 10 registered pregnant women receive postnatal care services.
All women with live births attended a postnatal clinic at least once after delivery. Such high coverage by maternal health services has led to a decrease in the maternal mortality rate in the Sultanate, which is higher than that of other GCC countries.
Oman News Agency