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.
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