Oman beating NCDs in the souk, center and also the loaves of bread doorways

People in Oman celebrating in Nizwa

Launch of the new health promotion project within the Omani town of Nizwa


From smoke-free souks to low-salt bread, companies and communities within the Sultanate of Oman are leading the charge against noncommunicable illnesses, like lung and heart illnesses, cancer, and diabetes.

Led through the country’s Nizwa Healthy Way Of Life Project (NHLP), Oman’s earliest community-based health promotion project founded in 1999, many layers of society – in the national consumer protection authority and municipal government bodies to numerous companies – have became a member of forces to lessen risks that triggers NCDs and, consequently, improve health.

Nizwa, located about 175 kilometres from Muscat, Oman’s capital, is among the country’s earliest metropolitan areas and many popular holiday destinations.

“All running smoothly, we’ll set an objective to disseminate these initiatives and set up more examples throughout Oman,” states Dr Zahir Al Anqoudi, mind from the NCDs section at Oman’s Secretary of state for Health insurance and part of the Oman Anti-Tobacco Society.

Captured, the Nizwa project launched two new innovative health promotion activities: the “Tobacco-free souk” in Muscat’s open-air traditional market, and also the Healthy Restaurants Initiative.

Oman is among several countries selected by WHO to get integrated support to fast-track progress on achieving nine global targets to avoid and control NCDs, including reducing premature dying from NCDs by 25% by 2025, and also the NCD-related targets within the 2030 Diary for Sustainable Development.

A distinctive recipe for achievement

WHO’s support continues to be type in Oman’s progress in lessening salt consumption, controlling alcohol marketing and advertising and promoting exercise. The Business also helped to put foundations for that five proper priorities for NCD prevention and control Oman is working towards: tobacco control, nutritious diet, exercise, healthy territories, and integration of NCDs into primary healthcare.

Uniting people and leaders from various sectors behind a typical goal to accentuate action to enhance the healthiness of everyday Omanis has additionally been a part of WHO’s work.

Such collaboration has led to significant reductions of salt consumption, for instance. Reducing salt content in food would be a measure based on many local food producers, particularly Oman’s primary bakeries, who supply 90% of bread products. Consequently, the Omani government has become dedicated to additional legislation to manage sugars and fats.

Taking it towards the roads

In Oman, popular community centres are frequently church buildings, restaurants, or markets. Recognising this, Oman’s Secretary of state for Health is focusing in on such areas to tackle two big NCD risks: diet and tobacco.

In Nizwa, creating a tobacco-free souk was the following big part of tobacco control following its indoor smoking ban issued this year. Market research conducted by local volunteers in 2016 found near unanimous support for that smoking ban by community people, business proprietors, local visitors and worldwide vacationers alike.

The Healthy Restaurants Initiative is really a first for Oman and among the couple of available within the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Three restaurants have volunteered to pilot in your area developed guidelines for healthy food choices choices on their menus which are lower in salt, fat and sugar. Classes on healthy food choices formulations will also be available for staff.

“We’ll make certain the implementation from the initiatives may happen progressively through proper awareness raising and training,” states Mr Yarub Al Yahyaee, director from the Town of Nizwa.

The situation for change

Targeting risks like diet and tobacco which are carefully associated with cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes and chronic respiratory system illnesses is essential in Oman.

Greater than 50% of Omani women and men are obese or overweight, greater than 40% have hypertension, and 12% happen to be identified as having diabetes. 1 in 5 Omanis die before their 70th birthday, most out of largely avoidable cardiovascular illnesses.

Like a number of other countries in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, the believed average consumption of salt consumption for individuals in Oman is near to 10 grams per person each day. This really is double WHO recommendations.

For this reason the Un Interagency Taskforce on NCDS (UNIATF) and also the WHO GCM/NCD Integrated Country Support team performance in strong collaboration with Oman to make sure factors such as salt reduction could be implemented from finish-to-finish, beginning with monitoring and surveillance of population-wide salt consumption.

Achieving results

Since 2015, Oman continues to be effective in achieving a tenPercent decrease in salt content in bread products within primary bakeries. In 2016, this initiative established a far more ambitious purpose of 20% salt decrease in breads and broadened its focus to cheese too.

Oman’s Secretary of state for Health has additionally established a nationwide monitoring team to manage the progress in salt and fat loss in Omani foods.

It’s wished that this helps set up a base-line way of measuring salt consumption within the population, usually measured from the round-the-clock urine sample, to ensure that progress could be tracked and much more easily associated with alterations in health outcomes.

To make sure these measures achieve Oman’s youth, the federal government has incorporated health education in most school curriculums. This sees that youth can behave as effective agents of change but additionally benefit greatly from health promotion messages.

An additional proposal for reducing saturated fats, especially palm oil, in Omani foods has been considered through the government.

Giving everybody a seat while dining

Ongoing success in Oman in fighting against NCDs is determined by strong leadership along with a mix-sectoral approach including all amounts of society, government bodies condition. It will likewise require persistence and support to make sure scale-up from pilot projects can occur in the right pace.

“It’s encouraging to determine such genuine commitment in the food and beverage industry in Oman to try and work at creating a change for that betterment of health,” states Dr Asmus Hammerich, director of NCDs in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.

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