Royal Hospital has successfully performed the first liver transplant operation in Oman. The feat of transplant surgery on a woman, who was diagnosed with cancerous tumours, is a tribute to the high level of excellence that the nation’s healthcare sector has achieved. The transplant was done with a close relative, this case the patient’s son, as a donor. The medical team of Royal Hospital who performed the complex procedure without a hitch deserves to be complimented for their achievement. It is appropriate that Minister of Health HE Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Sa’eedi visited the patient and the donor. The minister personally congratulated the team that performed the first liver transplant surgery anywhere in Oman. The minister has hailed Royal Hospital staff for taking the lead to introduce liver transplant surgery in Oman in collaboration with foreign experts. The minister said the government is encouraging more people to register themselves with the National Organ Donation Programme. There is an obvious shortage of donor organs while the list of patients waiting for transplant keeps increasing. Donating organs is a life-saving act that belongs to the realms of noble humanity for which there is no dearth in a nation like Oman. Royal Hospital surgeon Prof Mohamed Rela deserves all praise for ably leading the team that performed this extremely difficult procedure. Of course the hospital administration led by Hospital Director Dr Qasim Al Sahmi did provide invaluable support and motivation to the team. Al Sahmi recalled that the successful conduct of the operation was the culmination of a two-year-long training programme including in overseas facilities for the hospital staff. It is noteworthy that the government has made available the latest equipment at the hospital so as to benefit patients needing complex procedures. World-class equipment is indeed important, but the dedication and expertise of the people manning them were also taken care of.
Oman needs more such centres that can provide the most difficult of medical procedures, considering the level of expertise available in the country. The fact that higher life expectancy among the citizens had drastically increased the need for better healthcare at all levels. Of course Oman’s healthcare system comprising three tiers of primary health centres, a referral secondary tier and specialty tertiary level is considered among the most efficient in the region. It has received global acclaim for its efficacy and reach across different geographical and demographic segments. The efficiency of the system helped raise people’s life expectancy and the nation at any given time requires more experts to attend to medical complications. That is why the nation needs more centre of healthcare excellence. Moreover, Oman’s geographic location makes it a natural candidate to be an international healthcare hub that could promote medical tourism. An international clientele would require the healthcare institutions in the country to dramatically elevate their game beyond the ordinary. In this context, such demonstrable successes like the liver transplant surgery achieved by Royal Hospital would act as an enabler. Health tourism could eventually become a major segment in the nation’s tourism push that is part of the nation’s ongoing economic diversification programme aimed at making the nation less dependent on hydrocarbon economy.