Dr Akjemal Magtymova, representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the sultanate, hailed the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik in mobilising the national response through forming a Supreme Committee for COVID-19 and the strict measures taken to halt the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, as well as to support global response under International Health Regulations.
In an interview with Oman News Agency (ONA), the WHO representative said that Oman put in place increasingly stringent containment measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, to prevent onward transmission and to protect frontline health workrforce.
“COVID-19 pandemic tests the core of our values: the value of human health, wellbeing and lives – which is taken very seriously by the government of the Sultanate of Oman, putting together extraordinary response from all those involved, coupled with full confidence and incredible solidarity and discipline, from the individuals and communities throughout the country,” she said.
“As was the case in times of peace, also in times of crisis, Oman demonstrates in practice its continued commitment to the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), by mounting up its hospital and ICU beds, supplies and mobilising human resources to serve its population. This includes both Omani citizens, as well as nearly 48 per cent of non-Omani residents, to whom the government is extending its diagnostic and treatment coverage for COVID-19, free of charge,” She noted.
As for the scope of cooperation between the sultanate and WHO, she said, “The WHO-Oman routine programme work has been halted and all the current efforts are being re-oriented to respond to the ongoing health emergency. While at the onset of the emergency, WHO support included speedy shipments for minimum initial requirements of testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), the core of WHO-Oman collaboration in the fight against the COVID-19 lies on the principles of internationalism and actions based on science and research.
This cooperation includes exchange, wide dissemination and use of WHO’s generated evidence, technical guidelines and procedures that give directions to various preparedness, management and response activities, coherent use of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials and cooperation on responsible media messages, and national workshops and trainings for the surveillance, management and emergency operations across the sultanate.
This is in addition to engagement in global research, solidarity trial and other partnerships to build evidence for planning/projections, diagnostic, management of COVID-19 infected patients, surveillance and response strategies, as well as mobilising UN and other partners’ contributions under one Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 and coordinating partners’ response aligned with the national response.