Emerging Burden of Frail Young and Elderly Persons in Oman : For whom the bell tolls?

Hamed Al-Sinawi, Mohammed Al-Alawi, Rehab Al-Lawati, Ahmed Al-Harrasi, Mohammed Al-Shafaee, Samir Al-Adawi

Abstract


Recent improvements in health and an increased standard of living in Oman have led to a reduction in environment-related and infectious diseases. Now the country is experiencing an epidemiological transition characterised by a baby boom, youth bulge and increasing longevity. Common wisdom would therefore suggest that Omanis will suffer less ill health. However, a survey of literature suggests that chronic non-communicable diseases are unexpectedly becoming common. This is possibly fuelled by some socio-cultural patterns specific to Oman, as well as the shortcomings of the ‘miracle’ of health and rapid modernisation. Unfortunately, such new diseases do not spare younger people; a proportion of them will need the type of care usually reserved for the elderly. In addition, due to their pervasive and refractory nature, these chronic non-communicable diseases seem impervious to the prevailing ‘cure-oriented’ health care system. This situation therefore calls for a paradigm shift: a health care system that goes beyond a traditional cure-orientation to provide care services for the chronically sick of all ages. 



Keywords


Chronic disease; Non-communicable diseases; Transition, demographic; Disability; Burden of illness; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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