healthcare

Health Minister Reviews Oman Experience in Policy Making During Pandemic at Global WHO Evidence-to-Policy Summit

November 18, 2021

Muscat, 17 Nov (ONA) --- Under the theme “towards more equitable, resilient and sustainable global health”, the Global WHO Evidence-to-Policy (E2P) Summit on Evidence as a catalyst for policy and societal change began today.

During the three-day virtual event, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, Minister of Health took part in the panel discussion with Ministers of Health representing the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), with the attendance of Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, as well Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, in addition to number of Health Ministers from all WHO regions and representatives of international organizations.

The global summit aims at leveraging evidence for policy change and societal transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic as the pandemic has demonstrated that responding to the fast-paced developments of a health emergency requires evidence-to-policy systems that can swiftly deliver relevant, high-quality, and trustworthy evidence. It would reflect on the role of evidence-policy mechanisms during COVID-19.

During the meeting, Dr. Ahmed reviewed current situation in Oman, stating that policies take into consideration the wealth of information collected through the electronic patient information system (Al Shifa), which helps identify trends, gaps, and steer strategic directives. This is supported by the existence of an active and reliable disease surveillance system, and high capacity and readiness of public health laboratories in terms of technical and diagnostic expertise.

The Minister of Health explained that it was through Al Shifa system that non-communicable diseases became a focus due to rising incidence. The information is also used to increase awareness among public and health care staff about symptoms and spread of disease, and to constantly update rules and regulations about safety measures. He added that local sources of evidence are also always complemented by relevant existing international evidence, and where no local evidence is available, international evidence is collected to guide policies, taking into account local specificities.

Furthermore, Dr. Ahmed remarked on the Oman’s response to COVID-19 including the use of evidence in the crisis response.

The high-level roundtable with Ministers of Health from around the world will reflect on the role of evidence-policy mechanisms during COVID-19. The distinguished speakers during three days will explore which investments will be needed to strengthen the capacities and capabilities of national systems to improve decision-making, both in routine processes and in future global crises.

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