Ministry of Health receives Award for its initiative: ‘Reduce Childhood Mortality Rate: Infants and Children under 5 years of Age’
Luwitha Al Mughairy: This award crowns the Sultanate’s remarkable efforts in enhancing the e-health services provided to citizens and residents.
Abdullah Al Raqadi: This win reflects the Ministry of Health’s attention to develop its eHealth system.
Shariffa Al Meskary: The Sultanate has become one of the key countries competing for the prizes of this award and its participation is no longer just for introducing the development taking place in its eGovernment services.
The Sultanate proudly participated in the United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) Ceremony held at the UN General Assembly Hall, in New York, USA, with the attendance of high-level officials from the United Nations and from 133 participating countries from around the world.
Internationally recognized health-care
Represented by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Sultanate achieved a 2nd place finishing for its pioneering ‘Reduce Childhood Mortality Rate: Infants and Children under 5 years of Age’ initiative, in the category of ‘Promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services’. Part of the Al Shifa Health Management System, this initiative, designed by the Ministry of Health’s General Directorate of IT, is considered to be one of the most developed and effective health systems in society.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in the Sultanate of Oman, has taken a holistic approach in enhancing the quality of mother and child health. Oman has been successful in reducing both the maternal mortality rate in childbirth from 22 (per 100,000 live births) in 1995 to 13.4 in 2009, and the Infant Mortality Rate of 20 (per 1,000 live births) in 1995 to 9.6 in 2009. This has been attributed to comprehensive healthcare services for mother and child. As well, with an IT-based ‘Mother and Child system’ in place, the progress of pregnant mothers and child development under the age of 5 is carefully monitored to ensure full survival.
Before the ‘Mother and Child system’ was automated, pre-natal check-ups, services, and follow-up for mother and child health were done manually. As a result, there was no standardized manner in which pregnant women were educated on the medical check-ups and investigations required during the course of their pregnancy. Similarly, for new born babies, there were no proper ways to monitor follow-ups, in accordance to the international best practices.
With the implementation of the automated ‘Mother and Child system’ initiative, the MoH can now provide a holistic primary care for pregnant mothers (pre-natal and post natal care) at all medical centers and towards birth at the tertiary hospital. Their records are made available throughout their pregnancy, from primary healthcare center to the hospital, through the Healthcare system. It records the birth history, pre-natal care for mother and child, special care and needs, which then transfers same to the Primary care system, which will then be extended to the child under the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses system.
Enhancing health-care services
HE Luwitha bint Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy – Head of the Permanent Mission of the Sultanate of Oman, New York, USA, offered this statement on the occasion: “We are proud of the Sultanate’s latest achievement. This award crowns the Sultanate’s remarkable efforts, represented by the MoH and the ITA, in enhancing the e-health services provided to citizens and residents. The 2nd place win in the ‘Promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services’ category aims to provide integrated care against childhood diseases from birth until the age of 5 years, as well as paying great attention to women’s health during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. It also attempts to reap the benefits from technology to provide excellent services to patients, such as sending sms to pregnant women to remind them of appointment dates or vaccination dates for her child.”
HE added: “We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the noticeable efforts of the ITA to attain this achievement, as the ITA assists in the selection of best projects inside the Sultanate and advises them to participate in the Award competition, especially those projects which serve the society and its various segments. The ITA then invites these institutions and helps them to complete all the required procedures to ensure them a chance to participate and compete alongside other countries for a UNPSA.”
Developing Oman’s health system
On the occasion, Abdullah Hamood Al Raqadi – Director General Assistant for Applications, Governorates and Hospital – DGIT, said: “This remarkable win is added to the Sultanate’s accomplishments which have been achieved within the prosperous era of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who has devoted enormous attention to the field of IT and eGovernment. This achievement is not attained by chance but is due to the constant effort and hard work performed by a number of IT specialists. It reflects the efforts of the Ministry of Health to improve its health care system, e-health systems and health information management system, since all play an important role in supporting health policies, making decisions and setting sound methodological plans based on accurate data, statistics and reports with the use of technology.”
Furthermore, Al Raqadi continued, “At the same time, these health programs facilitate user’s work and guarantee the continuity of patients’ health information and consequently will improve health care in the Sultanate. This achievement and other similar awards received by the Ministry present a challenge to offer better health services for society.”
Fostering eHealth eGovernment services
Shariffa Mohammed Al-Meskary, Director of International Relations & Information, ITA, commented on what this achievement means to the Sultanate and to e.oman, of which ITA is tasked with the responsibility of implementing: “This achievement in the international arena is a very significant one which can be added to the Sultanate’s previous achievements in the field of promoting eGovernment services, thereby accomplishing the objective of the national strategy of e.oman and eGovernment. We are very proud because the Sultanate has become one of the key countries competing for this award. Oman no longer participates just to introduce the development its e-services have witnessed, but also to share experiences and to learn more about the various other projects which also participate. This knowledge can enable the Sultanate to win advanced places in this important Award program, thereby reflecting the Sultanate’s attention to foster e-services in governmental and non-governmental institutions.”
Extending an invitation to all governmental and non-governmental institutions, Al Meskary continued: “We encourage such institutions to implement their own pioneering projects which can in future vie for a UNPSA in the coming years. This can only be attained by improving the level of quality projects and making sure they keep pace with international standards in designing projects to enable users to benefit from them greatly.”
Exchanging experiences and knowledge
Through the forum associated with the UNPSA celebration, the Sultanate’s delegation will become acquainted with other international which have also received advanced places in the competition. While international delegations are meeting and exchanging experiences, the e.oman strategy, with its various projects, initiatives and awareness programs will also be introduced.
The UN Public Service Award recognizes the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions which lead to a more effective and responsive public service administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promote the role, professionalism, and visibility of public service. Each year there are only five categories with two winners per category. Oman has successfully won awards in 2003 (Muscat Municipality), 2009 (Royal Oman Police), 2010 (Ministry of Health), 2011 (Information Technology Authority, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Civil Service and National Association for Cancer Awareness) and now again, one award in 2012. For the Sultanate to have won Awards in five different years since the inception of the UNPSA and for the last four years running, is alone testament to the sultanate’s unwavering desire to excel at providing exceptional public service.