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UNICEF Oman hails Sultanate's child welfare measures
March 12, 2018 | 10:07 PM
by Times News Service
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Lana Al Wreikat, Senior Executive Associate at the office of UNICEF’s representative in the Sultanate, highlighted the country’s longstanding efforts to promote the welfare of children globally, in partnership with the international humanitarian organisation.
 
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Muscat: Oman is leading in the field of childcare by example and has the potential to be a centre of excellence for other countries to learn from, according to a UNICEF representative in Oman.

Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, Lana Al Wreikat, UNICEF Representative, highlighted the country’s longstanding efforts to promote the welfare of children globally, in partnership with the international humanitarian organisation.

“Oman’s achievements and progress over just four decades, under the wise guidance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, are remarkable. In 2014, for example, the Sultanate received the UN Award for public service for the sixth consecutive time.

Active role



“The award that year was for the Omani Nurse-Midwife Project in the category of ‘Promoting Gender Responsive Delivery of Public Services’. Oman also plays an active role in regional and global agendas. For example, Oman leads the Gulf region in environmental policy and legislation. These and other achievements need to be recognised,” Al Wreikat said.

Decades-long partnership

The organisation’s strong partnership with Oman started in 1970. Since then, the partnership has steadily evolved as the Sultanate continued its growth in all areas of development.

By 1996, remarkable progress had been achieved in child survival and development, while most of the mid-decade childcare goals were later realised with the ratification of the Sultanate’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, highlighting its commitment to the well-being of Omani children.

UNICEF, Al Wreikat explained, works closely with the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Health, as well as the National Centre for Statistics and Information to move beyond the formulation of new policies and strategies towards effective and measurable implementation by strengthened institutions.

Underlining Oman’s progress, she said: “The Sultanate is a high-income country that has earned recognition for its rapid human development over the last 40 years. Economic stability and income growth have gone hand-in-hand with rapid reduction in child and maternal mortality, universal child immunisation (99 per cent to date), and strong political will and action to address the rights of women and girls.”

Moving forward

Oman, Al Wreikat further explained, has already achieved the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target 4, which aims to reduce child mortality, with infant and under-five (U5) mortality rates by two thirds, since 1990.

“In primary and secondary education, Oman has achieved near-universal coverage and gender parity. Oman has also achieved universal literacy rates among young people aged 15-24 years. The adult literacy rate was 94.8 per cent in 2015, higher than the regional average,” she said.

On its part, Al Wreikat confirmed that the global organisation is working closely with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development to create an accredited training programme on IECD, as well as Early Intervention for Children with Disabilities to address the lack of services outside big cities.

“Oman has developed many mechanisms to protect children from violence. These include the Omani Child Law, issued by Royal Decree in 2014, the National Childhood Strategy (2016-2025), and the National Strategy on Child Maltreatment.

“Also, the Ministry of Social Development inaugurated the Child Protection Helpline (1100) in early 2017, making it a social responsibility to report child abuse cases,” she concluded.

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