The Ministry of Health (MOH) has established the following goals in order to achieve its mission:
The mission of the Ministry of Health is to enhance the health and well being of all the people of Oman by ensuring the availability of comprehensive health services throughout the Sultanate. In order to attain and sustain the highest possible level of health, MOH will cooperate and collaborate with other social and economic sectors, for protecting and promoting the health of the people in their bid to achieve a better quality of life. The Ministry of Health will share with the people, the responsibility for achieving a state of health, which will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life.
The Ministry of Health is the Sultanate's main agency responsible for provision, coordination and stewardship of the health sector. MOH is required to ensure the overall development of the health sector in relation to key social sectors. In keeping with this role, MOH acts as the principal architect of health system design and takes responsibility for ensuring proper coordination. It develops policies and programs for the health sector. It implements these in coordination with all other related ministries, health service institutions under the government, as well as in the private sector. MOH also advocates to all other public systems to make policies favourable to the health sector, and to refrain from making policies, which may adversely affect the health of the people.
MOH serves as the main agency of the government for providing curative care to the people of Oman. It runs hospitals and health centres at national, regional, sub-regional and local levels, which are integrated in a referral chain. The curative care services provided in MOH hospitals is supplemented by other government hospitals/clinics such as those run by the Sultan Qaboos University, Ministry of Defence, Royal Oman Police and the Petroleum Development Oman. There are also several private hospitals/clinics, which play an increasingly important role in providing care. All these establishments are linked with the MOH system through a referral chain.
MOH makes primary medical care available through health centres, extended health centres and local/wilayat hospitals. The regional referral hospitals mainly provide secondary medical care, while the national referral hospitals (The Royal Hospital, Khoula Hospital, Al Nahdha Hospital and Ibn Sina Hospital) mostly provide tertiary medical care. MOH ensures that no Omani is denied the benefit of medical care. It sponsors patients for treatment abroad, if the required treatment facilities are not available in the country. All demands or recommendations for overseas treatment are processed through a duly constituted Treatment Abroad Committee. MOH runs a Central Blood Bank, which stores and distributes blood and related products It also spearheads a nation-wide blood donation campaign. MOH undertakes drug control through its Directorate General of Pharmaceutical Affairs (DGPA and DC) and drug procurement and distribution through its Directorate General of Stores (DGS). MOH is responsible for the registration of drug manufacturers and products, control of narcotics and other controlled substances, issuance of the necessary customs clearances for import and re-export of drugs. As per the new drug policy, MOH shoulders the responsibility for price control in the retail market. MOH is responsible for private pharmacy licensing, and the licensing of pharmacists and assistant pharmacists to be employed in private pharmacies. It monitors the functioning of private pharmacies.
Preventive & Rehabilitative Functions:
The Ministry of Health recognizes the importance of the preventive & rehabilitative components of health care, and provides all the required services through its infrastructure to the fullest extent possible. MOH regularly monitors the incidence and prevalence of all communicable diseases through its epidemiological & disease surveillance directorate, notifies the concerned national and international authorities, and takes necessary preventive action. High risk groups such as pregnant mothers and children under the age of 5 years are given necessary immunizations (against vaccine-preventable diseases) and nutrition supplements. Reproductive health care (ANC, PNC) and birth spacing services are given to all pregnant mothers / women who fall in the reproductive age group. Special programs are conducted to fight serious communicable diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus and malaria. Taking note of the rapid economic and social development in the Sultanate, and being concerned that this may lead to unhealthy life-styles leading to the emergence of new health problems, special programs on non-communicable diseases have been organized to fight problems of obesity, cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. A programme has been organized to inform and educate the people so that they share a responsibility in preserving good health by adopting healthy life-styles and food habits. Apart from these programs, MOH also promotes good health through its health education campaign and school health services.
Investigative support services are provided at the institutional level, as well as a support to public health activities. Medical fitness certificates are issued to all current / prospective employees based on laboratory / other investigative services such as radiography, CT scan / MRI. MOH also provides physiotherapy and rehabilitation services as an essential component of the Sultanate’s health care services. Such services are available in the Royal Hospital and Khoula Hospital in Muscat, as well as in all regional hospitals. The Ministry’s physiotherapy and rehabilitation services are generally directed toward preventing disability, relieving pain, developing, improving or restoring function and contributing to the health of the Omani society. The services of qualified physiotherapists and a few other professionals such as occupational therapist and orthotist / prosthetist are available in MOH hospitals.
Role of MOH in Private Sector Development:
The Ministry of Health feels that the private sector can play a significant role in a large spectrum of activities ranging from investment in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary health care to Human Resources and Health Education and Training. The MOH continues to receive many applications from individuals and companies who are interested in investing in the private sector. At present there are three private hospitals and 491 clinics operating in Oman. The policy of MOH is to encourage investment by the private sector in the health sector and to that extent even partially finance projects extending to 10 million ranging from private hospitals to pharmaceuticals. Recently the MOH had invited many private sector clinic owners for discussion on the possibility of their investing in establishing a Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation centre in private sector. The MOH provides technical advice and co-operation in setting up hospitals, clinics and pharmaceuticals in the private sector.
With regard to private hospitals, monitoring is done both during the planning, construction and operation of the hospital in the form of technical protocol and the selection of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. The MOH advises these hospitals on various protocols about patient care and ensures, through periodic visits, that the hospitals function within the framework of these protocols.