Despite Oman’s increasing rates of noncommunicable diseases, its advances in the delivery of primary health care services have given the country extensive experience in health promotion and disease prevention. The country also has a strong tradition of multisectoral collaboration in health. In her keynote address at the international conference on Oman’s 2050 vision for health: quality care, sustained health, recently held in Muscat, Oman, Dr Margret Chan, WHO Director General, described this a valuable asset in preventing noncommunicable diseases, as addressing their root causes was beyond the role of the health sector alone.
Globally, the burden of noncommunicable diseases is increasing, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean where morbidity and mortality rates have increased sharply over the last few years. Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, has placed the prevention and control of these diseases at the top of his agenda and among five identified priorities for the Region.
Increasing priority has also been accorded to noncommunicable diseases at the global level, represented by the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in September 2011 and the adoption of the UN Political Declaration by global leaders.
The commitment of the Government of Oman to prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases and improve health care is evident in its 2050 vision for health. Making health systems “fit for purpose” is an extremely demanding task amidst the enormous challenges for health in the 21st century. Oman’s success in this area and its attempt to address the root causes of noncommunicable diseases provides the rest of the Region not only with a model of practical value to follow, but one of inspiration.