Oman’s health expenditure rose 22% in 2020 to $2.52bn; Report

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The total recurrent expenditures in Oman’s Ministry of Health (MoH) amounted to $2.52 billion during last year compared to approximately $2.06 billion in 2019, marking a surge of 22.6 percent, a new report said.

The annual health report of 2020 reveals that the total number of health centers and polyclinics operated by the Ministry reached 211 and it includes 54 health centers with a capacity of 84 beds, and 21 polyclinics, in addition to 51 hospitals having 5,262 beds at the end of last year.

Many services were also added to these institutions in order to improve the quality of health services provided at all levels. A field hospital was designated exclusively for COVID-19 cases with 202 beds, the report added.

At the end of December 2020, the total number of workers in the MoH reached 38,566, with an Omanisation rate of 73 percent.

The development expenditure of the Ministry decreased to $40.8 million last year from $56.1 million in 2019, the report revealed.

COVID-19 has posed a great challenge to all health systems, whether in the most or least developed countries in the world, the report said. The decrease in the use of health services in 2020 is attributed mainly to the effect of the pandemic.

The number of outpatient clinics visits to MoH institutions in 2020 dropped to 10.5 million visits compared to about 15.7 million visits in 2019. The average number of visits per Omani person to outpatient clinics reached 3.7 visits last year, which led to a decrease in the total number of discharged patients from MoH’s health institutions to reach about 257,000 in 2020, with an average period of hospitalization of 3.7 days of stay and 47.8 percent of bed occupancy rate.

The health system in the country, along with all state apparatus, has confronted this challenge with efficiency and competency, relying on the strong infrastructure that was built over the years and on the competencies of its human resources for health, implementing simultaneously all international standards and policies set for the fight against this pandemic, the report said.

The MoH’s Annual Health Report 2020, represented by the Information & Statistics Department of the Directorate General of Planning and Studies, highlighted the main services provided by the health sector in 2020 along with health and vital indicators and the sustainable development goals.

Related: Oman’s cost-cutting steps helped to lower public spending by 2.1% in 2020; MoF