Oman News Roundup

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Fraser Clarke

Fertility Rates Continue to Drop

Oman’s fertility rate is continuing to drop, with a new United Nations report showing that it currently sits at 2.7 births per woman.

Whilst this is still considerably higher than in the West, where rates in Germany and the United Kingdom range from 1.5 to 1.8, it represents a staggering drop since 1980, when the average Omani woman gave birth more than eight times.

The report shows that women in Oman now have greater freedom - with the Sultanate’s Government pleased about the impact a lower number of children will have on educational facilities.

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Population Fund, Asr Ahmad Toussoun, explained the positive impact a lower birth rate can have. He said: “Birth spacing and the empowerment of women drive the pace of economic and social progress in the world.”

Boost for Thalassemia Patients

A joint partnership between the Omani Ministry of Health and Novartis is set to bring the latest iron-overload treatments to the Sultanate.

Government data suggests that as many as 75% of patients visiting clinics have an inherited blood disorder - with sickle cell disease, thalassemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase the most common.

Now the MOH and Novartis, who launched their first iron-overload medication back in 1968, have made new film-coated tablets available - making treatment quick and convenient.

The new partnership is just one of many ways that the Omani health ministry is attempting to deal with Thalassemia - with premarital screening already widespread, and work to reduce the traditional attitudes towards the issue also underway.

Mandatory Health Insurance to be Introduced

Oman is set to follow regional trends by introducing mandatory health insurance for workers in the country.

According to a recent article in ‘Muscat Daily’ preparations are already underway for the introduction, which would see the country follow the likes of the United Arab Emirates by making insurance mandatory.

Oman’s approach has been typically meticulous, with the Ministry of Health creating a team of experts to create regulations that a perfectly suited to the market conditions.

Rumours suggest that insurance could be mandatory as early as next year.

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