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MoH under the auspices of Badr Al Samaa organized conference on Public Private Collaboration for Disease Control

The conference on public private collaboration for disease control was conducted by MoH under the auspices of Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals. It was attended by Dr. Mazin Khabouri, DG Private Health Establishments, Dr Seif Al-Abri, DG, Directorate General for Disease Surveillance and Control (DGDSC) and many senior ministry official and strong representation by Private Healthcare Establishments. In multiple presentations PPP was discussed and emphasis was put on the important and integral role of Private Players in diagnosis, treatment and elimination of communicable diseases like TB, HIV, etc.  

In his welcome address, Dr Mazin Al-Khabouri laid emphasis on the importance of public private partnership in surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and control of communicable diseases like HIV, Tuberculosis, etc. in the national interest. He appreciated private sector for their contributions so far which has considerably helped improve the figures of disease spread and treatment.

 Dr Seif Al-Abri in his address explained the objective of the conference and hailed private sector for their contribution in the diagnosis of TB, 30 – 40% of total cases. He also mentioned about the need for the private sector to screen for HIV, he said still there are 46% of the HIV cases yet to be screened and diagnosed and this PPM will certainly bridge the gap.

 Dr Fatma Al-Yaquobi, Head of National TB and Acute Respiratory section CDC, DGDSC delivered her presentation on Situation of TB in Oman and role of PPM for TB elimination. She said failure to engage with private providers can result in long delays in diagnosis and treatment, resulting in further TB transmission of the disease, leading to the development of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). She referred to TB case study of Korea, where the success of the program was associated with control of non-compliance, insurance coverage for TB, Public-Private Mix models and she urged for similar model for Oman as-well.

Dr Samir Shah, Epidemiologist, DCD, DGDSC presented on Status of HIV epidemic in Oman and role of private sector. He said in 2018 alone 145 HIV cases were diagnosed in Omani nationals where as the number stood to 252 for expats. He said the lack of awareness, stigma and discrimination around HIV many cases needs to be aggressively worked on. Such factors are often responsible for late diagnosis. He said for HIV the team Oman should comprise of both public and private sector. Everyone should follow 2015 and 2019 guidelines for HIV, promote testing among all and create awareness.

Interactive session gave private players an opportunity to come up with their concerns and suggestions. Dr. Shafeek Muhammed, Group CEO, Badr Al Samaa Group clarified the guidelines of diagnosing HIV patients and process to report and treat such cases with the panelists. He suggested the ways to raise awareness for encouraging people to come up for the screening of HIV and TB. Badr Al Samaa has willingly shown interest to be the private partner in national TB program with the mission of elimination of TB from the country.

Closing address was jointly done by Dr. Mazin Al Khabouri and Dr. Seif Al-Abri.  They indicated towards the modification in national TB Control Program to make PPP project. He said protocols and guidelines will be formulated to include private players in the program and eligibility will be assessed before granting them necessary permissions. They said without private participation it is challenging to deliver timely results. Dr. Mazin in his speech and other ministry official thanked Badr Al Samaa Group for valuable contributions and partnership for organizing auch successful event along with the Ministry of Health. Badr Al Samaa, since being the largest private healthcare provider, understands its responsibility and is at the forefront of contributing to the issues of national or public importance and interest.

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