Oman Among First Few Countries To Join COVAX: Minister of Health

Muscat: Oman’s Minister of Health has expressed appreciation for the continuous support of HM the Sultan to the health sector for dealing with the pandemic, and also explained how Oman was one of the first countries to join COVAX – a COVID-19 tools accelerator.

Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Saidi, Minister of Health, Member of the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, expressed his deep appreciation for the continuous support of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik to the health sector and departments dealing with the pandemic.

Speaking at the 17th press conference held by the Supreme Committee at the Ministry of Education today, the minister reiterated his plea to all members of the public to stick to the decisions of the Supreme Committee and precautionary measures it has set for the management of the pandemic so that all could enhance the efforts of the health sector and the ROP to handle the situation.

In particular, he said that all segments should refrain from gatherings and to report any violations. “Failure to report a crime is a crime in itself,” said the minister, who described crime reporting as a national duty.

Dr. Ahmed pointed out that doctors and other health undergo tremendous stress as they watch young people dying from the disease. He explained that COVID-19 mortality rate in the Sultanate is still within the mark of 1% from total infection cases, “but any such death represents a disaster and great pain that could be limited if we follow proper preventive measures.”

Last week, COVID-19 death rate at Intensive Care Units (ICUs) reached 83% (Mortality rate in cases admitted to ICUs ranges from 75%-85%), said the minister, noting that the percentage of death among men is higher than women and that the disease damages a lot of organs in the body.

Dr. Ahmed explained that the increase in infection cases requires recruiting many skilled medical staff to ICUs and hospitals. In this context, he voiced gratitude for the unfailing support lent to the Health Ministry by His Majesty the Sultan, but, he added, it is difficult to get enough numbers of such skilled medical staff due to competition among countries. The health force is doing its best, but its members are suffering continuous fatigue, with some of them deprived of days off over the past six months, said Dr. Ahmed.

He added that all should understand that this virus spreads fast, with imminent risk looming from a third wave of infection, which already began in many countries, not only in our region. “The more we cooperate and rally efforts as a government, citizens and residents, the more we could cut down the number of infection cases and ease pressure on health establishments,” said Dr. Ahmed.

The minister pointed out that the Sultanate is one of the first countries that joined COVAX (Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator) organisation supervised by the World Health Organisation.

COVAX secures to member states access to a certain percentage of vaccinations, irrespective of the manufacturing firm or income of the state applying for the drug. It is an international guarantor, said the minister, who explained that countries with an ability to pay will contribute a sum to be specified by the WHO and the COVAX and that this sum will be used to cover the needs of persons most vulnerable to this disease.

This session, the Sultanate is a member of the WHO and a supporter of its efforts aimed at fair distribution of diagnostic instruments for all sorts of treatment and vaccinations, said Dr. Ahmed.

He reaffirmed that the Supreme Committee, being in ongoing session, embarks on revising decisions pertaining to education and that the outcome will be announced in time. He stressed that the Minister of Education is conducting a meeting with officials concerned at the Ministry, while coordinating with the Ministry of Health.

The minister reaffirmed that on one’s health in this country would be compromised.