Muscat: Oman’s government has reached several of its own goals, according to the National Centre for Statistics and Information’s (NCSI) Millennium Development Goals indicator, which was published on Monday.
Eight goals that have been met include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving mental health; combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.
Poverty and hunger
As of today, according to NCSI, there is a 0 per cent projection of people earning less than one dollar per day in the Sultanate, as well as the share of the poorest one-fifth in national consumption having increased to 6.1 per cent in 2011, compared to 5.1 per cent in 2000.
Part of the eradication of poverty is based upon the government’s working in achieving full and productive employment for all, including women and youths.
According to NCSI, the growth rate of the GDP per person employed dropped to 1.8 per cent in 2014, compared to 3.0 per cent in 2000, although the employment-to-population ratio increased to 62.4 per cent in 2014, compared to 56.4 per cent in 1993.
The government also reached its goal to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015, noting that in 2014 9.7 per cent of children under five years of age were underweight, which was a drastic drop from 23 per cent in 1995.
Education is arguably the most important aspect of a child’s life,and educators in the Sultanate work hard to develop the future of Oman.
The government achieved its goal of ensuring that by 2015 both boys and girls will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, where in 2014, 99.1 per cent of students who begin school in the first grade go on to complete the final stage of primary school, compared to 89.8 per cent recorded in 1990.
The literacy rate has also increased for those between the ages of 15 and 24 to 98.9 per cent in 2014, from 92 per cent in 1993.
A move to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education was to be met before 2015, but for all levels of education it was achieved before 2015.
According to NCSI, the ratio of boys to girls in primary education leapt to 0.96 in 2014, compared to 0.89 in 1990, as well as in secondary schools to 0.95 from 0.83.
The largest achievement is the ratio of girls to boys in higher education, where 1.38 was recorded in 2014, compared to 0.83 in 1990.
The women’s share in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector also increased to 22 percent in 2010, compared to just 8.2 per cent in 1993.
Further, women have a place in the nation’s parliament, where in Majlis Al Shura in Oman 9.5 percent of the seats were occupied by women between 2011 and 2015, compared to 4.9 per cent in 1997. Additionally, 17.9 per cent of the State council was occupied by women during the same periods, compared to only 9.8 percent in 1997. Yet, however great these achievements, the occupancy in Majlis Al Shura has dropped to 1.2 percent between 2011 and 2015, compared to 2.4 per cent in 1997.
Due to the nation’s advanced health services, the child mortality rate for children under five years of age has been reduced. Further, the goal to reduce the child mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 has also been reached.
According to NCSI, the mortality rate for children under five years of age per 1000 births dropped to 9.7 in 2014, compared to 35 in 1990.
Also, the infant mortality rate per 1000 births has dropped to 7.9 from 29 during the same period.
The government has achieved a 100 percent rating for immunising one year old children against measles.
Achieving a reduction in maternal mortalities by three quarters between 1990 and 2015 had been met with challenges, but has been achieved, according to NCSI. The ratio of maternal mortality per 100,000 live births dropped to 18.3 in 2014, compared to 27.3 in 1991.
New mothers are now more aware of the dangers of giving birth without a medical professional present,and it records that 99.7 per cent of women are today more cautious.
Contraceptives are, however, more prevalent, presently, where 29.7 percent of women use them, compared to 23.7 per cent in 1995.
Of note, in 1993 61.8 per cent of adolescents between 15-19 years old per 1000 women gave birth; in 2014 that number has dropped to 11 per 1000 women.
Also, 99.3 per cent of women receive prenatal care at least once during a pregnancy, while 93.8 percent visit a doctor at least 4 times, according to 2014 statistics from the NCSI.
It is recommended that women wait 18 months between births in order to remain healthy,though in 1997 58 percent of women did not wait this recommended period. Fortunately, that number dropped to 17.8 percent in 2014.
Aiming to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, the prevalence rate among the Omani population aged between 15 and 24 per 1000 of the same age group rose to 0.09 in 2014, compared to 0.01 in 1990.
Only 65 per cent of a portion of the population aged 15 to 24 years had correct knowledge about carrying HIV/AIDS, according to 2005 data.
Also, 95 per cent of advanced HIV infected people had access to anti-retroviral drugs in 2010, compared to only 78.4 percent in 2005.
The government has halted and reversed the incidence of malaria and other major diseases, as only 0.37 incidences per 100,000 people associated with malaria were recorded in 2014, compared to 56.6 in 1995.
Of note, there were no deaths due to malarial infections.
The rate of tuberculosis per 100,000 people has fallen to nearly half in 2014, with 4.80 compared to 8.33 in 1990, as well as a reduction in deaths to 0.35 from 1.25 during the same periods.
Integrating the principles of sustainable development into the country’s policies and programs, as well as reversing the loss of environmental resources, has been achieved.
According to NCSI, 717.79 metric tons of ozone depleting substances have been consumed in 2013, compared to 540.45 metric tons in 1995.
However, 1.634 million cubic meters of water resources have been used in a three year period, compared to 1.217 in 2000.
By reducing losses in biodiversity and achieving a significant reduction in the rate of loss, 2.18 percent of the proportion of terrestrial and marine areas is being protected, according to 2011 statistics.
Of note, 4.9 percent of plants and 24.08 per cent of animals are now threatened with extinction.
Drinking water has also improved,in which 94.9 percent of the population is consuming improved drinking water, compared to 75 percent in 2003, as well as 99 percent were using improved sanitation facilities in 2014.
In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, the Sultanate has maintained 100 percent success in assuring that the general population is able to afford essential drugs on a sustainable basis.
New technologies are also being made available for inhabitants, in cooperation with the private sector, where 9.4 per 100 people subscribed to fixed telephone lines in 2014, compared to 6.58 in 1990.
Cellular subscribers have exceeded expectations, as 155.13 people per 100 inhabitants were subscribing to cellular services in 2014, compared to 6.7 in 2000.
Also, 67 people per 100 inhabitants were subscribing to internet services, according to 2013 statistics, compared to 6.1 in 2003.