Muscat: Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saidi, Minister of Health, recalls his memories of Renaissance Day and his journey from 1970 to the present day, while exclusively talking to the Times of Oman.
“In 1970, I was around nine years old, and of course there were no documentations of births or deaths in Oman at that time. I came from a village in the western mountains of Oman called Al Qala’, and my late father had the only radio in the village or the surrounding villages.”
“And of course, when His Majesty the Sultan took over in 1970, the news came through the radio and we were all very excited,” Al Saidi said.
“We heard in His Majesty’s first speech that he was going to make Oman modern and make life better for everybody. His Majesty made these promises in the first few days of his becoming the Sultan of Oman. And, I can be a witness that he fulfilled all his promises, and Oman today is a different country than what it used to be,” he added.
“Again, I will go back to the place I was born in – there were no electricity, no running water, no roads and not a single form of health care, and that was the standard in most parts of Oman. The life at that time was, unfortunately, primitive. There were no schools in most parts of the country. The only schools available were in Muscat and Salalah – Al Saeediya.
“All health facilities, which were very limited and very poor, were also mainly in Muscat and a few major cities. This is an example of how Oman was before 1970. Life was very difficult and people were struggling,” Al Saidi said.
“When His Majesty took over and started building Oman, he made education and health priorities, in addition to security. So, schools and health care facilities started being built across the country. But as you can understand when you come to a country with nothing at all and you start from scratch, it takes some time,” Al Saidi explained.
“So, I completed my schooling in one of the neighbouring countries. But after that, as with many other Omanis, I was given a full scholarship to study medicine, initially in the United States of America, and after that I moved to Great Britain and finished my studies in Scotland. Afterwards, I came back to Oman as a doctor to serve my country.
“On March 3, 2010, I had the honour of becoming the Minister of Health in Oman,” he added.
“My predecessors worked very hard and established the basic needs and facilities for health care in the country.
“I am proud and glad to say that because of the support of His Majesty and his government, health care in Oman is now used as an example of how it should be established and run,” he said.