Excellence in healthcare does not come easy. World-class equipment alone would not help achieve this. It also needs well-trained professionals. Their dedication and drive to go that extra mile are necessary for achieving such excellence. Add to that the government’s willingness to spare no effort to provide the best infrastructure. A combination of all these factors has made Oman one of the top nations of the region in healthcare, maintaining a high level of efficiency. No wonder that hospitals and healthcare centres in the Sultanate have been notching up one feat after another. The nation’s healthcare infrastructure has been steadily improving with the number of hospitals affiliated to the ministry touching 49 last year, offering 5,034 beds. There are another 23 healthcare complexes apart from 183 health centres spread across the nation. Last year, the nation’s healthcare sector witnessed 111,313 surgeries performed, indicating the efficiency of the sector. Nearly 51,000 of these procedures were major surgeries, data available with the National Centre for Statistics and Information show. Khoula Hospital authorities should be congratulated for successfully performing 8,644 of these operations. Even the health centres in the Sultanate are competent enough to conduct surgeries and they accounted for nearly 12,800 minor procedures. The outpatient clinics under the Ministry of Health serve the citizens well, considering that they accounted for about 14.8 million visits that amounted to 6.1 visits per person per year. These clinics also took care of about 814,500 expat patients who averaged 0.4 visits per person per year. The private sector clinics also received 4.01 million patients. The healthcare excellence that these institutions have achieved would not have been possible without the whole-hearted support of more than 39,000 medical and paramedical personnel, who include 5,875 doctors of whom 2,455 are specialists.
The government has been aware of the increasing healthcare needs of the people and expanding the infrastructure. Experts say the nation’s healthcare profile is changing drastically with the change of habits in the population, especially youngsters. It may be attributed to indiscriminate adoption of technology, but lifestyles are becoming more and more sedentary. Technologies do make people’s life easier and improve their quality of life giving them more time to spend on pursuits they like most. But lifestyle changes give rise to new health problems and public health challenges. What is even more troubling for public health administrators is that the most susceptible demographic band to such problems is the young. As the physical aspect of the children’s activities dwindles, there is direct implication for their physical wellbeing. Eating habits also have undergone major changes with children preferring fast food to more nutritious conventional food. This is resulting in increasing morbidity and the need for more diverse healthcare facilities. The situation could be compounded by the rise in population, which is expected to double in the next 30 years. The nation spends almost 2.7 per cent of the gross domestic product on healthcare underscoring the importance that the government attaches to the matter.