Despite the apparent challenges inflicted by COVID-19 globally, the pandemic provided an opportunity to utilize and expand existing public health capacities for a more adaptive and resilient system during and after each wave of the disease. This paper provides a narrative review of Oman's public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic from January 2020 to July 2021, and the challenges it faced for a more rapid and efficient response. The review demonstrates that the three main pillars influencing the direction of the pandemic and aiding the control are Oman's unified governmental leadership, the move to expand the capacity of the health care system at all levels, and community partnership in all stages of the response including the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The opportunities identified during response stages in the harmonization of the multisectoral response, streamlining communication channels, addressing vulnerable communities (dormitories, residences at border regions), and providing professional technical leadership provide an excellent precursor for expediting the transformation of Oman's health care system to one with a multisectoral holistic approach. Some of the major challenges faced are the shortage of the public health cadre, lack of a fully integrated digital platform for surveillance, and the scarcity of experts in risk communication and community engagement. A future health system where the center for diseases surveillance and control acts as a nucleus for multisectoral expertise and leadership, which includes community representatives, is crucial to attain optimum health. The destruction inflicted by this prolong COVID-19 pandemic at all levels of human life had valued the importance of investing on preventive and preparedness strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas