The World Health Report –Health systems Empowering Citizens and Improving Performance

Issa Al Salmi, Suad Hannawi


Background: Oman is a Middle Eastern country bordering the Arabian Sea, Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. It has a population of about four million people, about 50% of whom are expatriates. The WHO report is the first international assessment of Oman’s health system (HS). More, the WHO report is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the world’s health systems.

Purpose of the study: To discuss the WHO report assessment of Oman’s health system. In addition, we will explore how a small country with relatively a young health system could, achieve such a high ranking where others with high financial capacity and well mature health system fail to achieve a goo ranking by the WHO standard.

Methods: The study utilises WHO report that relies on the following major components: (1) goal attainment (effectiveness), (2) health expenditures per-capita, and (3) efficiency and the overall level of health performance. Its analysis identifies the key outcomes in terms of three main goals for HS: to improve health; to improve the responsiveness of the HS to people’s legitimate expectations of being treated with dignity and autonomy and due care; and to encourage, the third component, the HS to be fairly financed.

Results: Oman was ranked highly by the WHO report. Its success is very impressive compared to many countries that are well advanced and have a better health finance system. WHO used five performance indicators to measure HS in 191 member states, it finds that France provides the best overall health care followed among major countries by Italy, Spain, Oman, Austria and Japan.

Conclusions, brief summary and potential implications:

This highly innovative study has been criticised for its choice of objectives and advocate a case for omitting the equity of financing from the list and replacing it with an index of access, both financial and geographical. The weights attached to the system objectives have not been validated. However, it is highly unlikely that a single set of weights or a single set of objectives can be obtained which are valid reflections of the aspirations of every country in the world.

Key words: World Health Organization, health report, health system, Oman, health system, effectiveness, health expenditures, efficiency, health performance, dignity and autonomy.

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