Gynopedia needs your support! Please consider adding content, translating a page, or making a donation today. With your support, we can sustain and expand the website. Gynopedia has no corporate sponsors or advertisers. Your support is crucial and deeply appreciated.

Muscat

From Gynopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oman / Muscat
Muscat.jpg

OVERVIEW

In Oman, you will find a complex picture regarding sexual and reproductive health care. On the one hand, Oman is an incredibly diverse and youthful society, where immigrants make up over 40% of the population and nearly 50% of the population is under 25 years old.[1] The majority of the population lives in developed urban centers, like Muscat and Seeb, where one can find state-of-the-art medical centers in both the public and private sectors. Furthermore, the majority of Omani people practice Ibadi Islam, which is considered a rather tolerant branch of Islam, relatively speaking. On the other hand, Omani society remains markedly religious and conservative. It's not common or widely accepted to talk openly about sexuality, especially regarding the sexuality of unmarried people. For these reasons, you can find contraceptives, such as pills, condoms and IUDs, available in Oman, but they're assumed to be for married people. Moreover, emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills) are unavailable in Oman. If you visit the "Emergency Contraception (Mornig After Pill)" section of this page, we explain how you can use regular birth control pills as replacement ECPs. Abortion is illegal, except for cases when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. Overall, Oman is an international and rapidly changing country. For these reasons, the current landscape may prove very different in the decades to come. However, as it currently stands, one should remain keenly aware of the cultural and social attitudes toward sexual and reproductive health, and it's advised to carefully seek out providers who are most sensitized to your needs.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Oman, contraceptives (such as birth control pills, IUDs and condoms) are legal and available. However, they are not extremely popular or common, and the rate of usage is lower than many neighboring countries. According to a 2015 UN report, 37.4% of women (who are of reproductive age and married/in unions) use some form of contraception. It was found that 28.3% of women have unmet family planning needs, which is rather high for the region (compared to 11.3% for Bahrain, 19.2% for Qatar and 19.5% for the UAE in 2015). The most common contraceptive methods were found to be withdrawal, also known as the "pull-out method" (7.2%), shots/injectables (5.6%), female sterilization (5.6%), pills (5.2%), condoms (4.2%) and IUDs (3.9%). There appeared to be practically no usage of contraceptive implants (0% usage in the report) and vaginal barrier methods (0% usage in the report).[2]

The majority of Omani people are Ibadi Muslims, practicing a form of Islam that is neither strictly Sunni or Shi'a. While Ibadi Islam is considered tolerant (regionally-speaking), and Oman is less religiously conservative than some of its neighbors, Oman is still a traditional society. In Oman, homosexuality is illegal[3] and contraceptives were not widely available until 1994.[4] Oman is considered a "high-fertility" country with about 5 births per woman. In the past few decades, more Omani women have chosen to take contraceptives, especially educated and wealthier women in urban areas. However, the rate of usage is still lower than its neighbors, such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, as well as other Arab countries, such as Egypt.

In Oman, like in other Arabian Peninsula countries, contraceptives are thought to be for married couples. For this reason, condom distribution campaigns tend to target married people. Furthermore, it's taboo to discuss topics like premarital sex, young people having sex and general STI prevention (for all people, regardless of marital status) in Omani society. If someone promotes contraceptives for single people, that person may be interpreted as promoting promiscuous or amoral behavior.[5]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Oman, you can find birth control pills. Some of the birth control brands that you may find are Ovral, Ovrette, Lo-Femenal, Microgynon-30 and Nordette.[6]
  • You can find contraceptive shots/injections, like Depo-Provera, in Oman. You can find them at Medident Medical & Dental Clinic, as well as other health care facilities.
  • You can find intrauterine devices (IUDs) in Oman. However, they're not extremely common, so hospitals may need to be informed of your interest in advance (so they can order/import them from abroad).
  • While contraceptive implants aren't very common in Oman, you may able to find Nexplanon, in certain hospitals. Keep in mind that these hospitals may need time to order contraceptive implants from abroad.

Costs[edit]

  • Contraceptive shots/injections (e.g. Depo-Provera) - At Medident Medical & Dental Clinic, here are the prices for Depo-Provera in September 2017: You can get 1 injection every 12 weeks. The cost of Depo-Provera is 3 rial, plus the administering of injections is 5 rial. There's also one consultation in the beginning of the treatment, which costs 20 rial.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) - At Medident Medical & Dental Clinic, here are the prices for IUDs in September 2017: Mirena coil is 88 rial, Copper coil is 20 rial. Insertion on of IUD is 20 rial and removal of IUD is 10 rial.
  • Contraceptive Implants - At Medident Medical & Dental Clinic, here are the prices for implants in September 2017: Nexplanon is 70 rial; procedure insertion of implant is 20 rial and procedure removal of implant is 30 rial.

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

It appears that emergency contraception pills (the morning after pill) are not legally available in Oman (but we're still researching this).[7] [8] However, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement EC. For more information on how to do this, check out the "What To Get & Where To Get It" section below.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • We cannot find evidence of any dedicated emergency contraception pills (morning after pills) available in Oman. However, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement EC. To do this, you can do the following:
    • For this brand of pill, take 40 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex: Ovrette</ref> [9]
    • For this brand of pill, take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later (and only take from the first 21 pills in the pack): Ovral[10]
    • For this brand, take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later (and only take from the first 21 pills in the pack): Lo-Femenal, Microgynon-30, Nordette</ref> [11]

Costs[edit]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Oman, there are certain restrictions related to HIV status. If you're visiting Oman as a tourist (i.e. a short-term stay), then you don't need to show any proof of your HIV status. There are no HIV tests or medical certificates required by border control. However, if you want to stay in Oman for a long-term stay (for example, if you're coming as a worker, student or resident), then you'll need to take medical exam, which includes an HIV test. If you're found to be HIV-positive, you will be expelled from the country.[12]

Overall, there is a low prevalence of HIV in Oman. By the end of 2013, it was reported that there were 2394 HIV cases.[13]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • Medident Medical & Dental Clinic: "STD testing unfortunately is quite expensive. The STD -10 tests by PCR is urine or cervical swab. The test is very sensitive to find out about infections. Additional blood tests can be done, but antibodies need longer to develop than to test for the actual virus by PCR" (September 2017). Address: Muscat, Oman. Phone: +968 24 600668.

Support[edit]

  • There are about 15 HIV treatment sites in Oman and over 800 people on antiretroviral treatment.[14]

Resources/Organizations:

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • If you have a yeast infection, you can go to a pharmacy and ask if they have medications like Fluconazole. While they may not specifically have Fluconazole, this may give a pharmacist of what you're looking for, and they can find a generic medication that can combat the yeast infection.
  • There is currently no Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) access in Oman, as of September 2017.[15]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • In Oman, you can find pads/pantyliners in supermarkets and pharmacies. They will be the easiest menstrual products to find.
  • In Oman, you can sometimes find tampons in supermarkets and pharmacies, especially in larger cities like Muscat. However, they are less readily available than pads or pantyliners. You can also buy tampons online and have them delivered to your address in Oman. For example, you can find [tampons sold on the Biovea website], where you can purchase the tampons in Omani currency.
  • While you may have some difficulty finding menstrual cups in the markets of Oman, you can find them in Dubai, and potentially in Doha (but Dubai is much more likely to have them). Alternatively, you can also buy menstrual cups online and have them delivered to your address in Oman. For example, you can purchase menstrual cups on Ubuy, an international online retailer, which sells items in OMR and can do international delivery. As of September 2017, they sell menstrual cup brands like Blossom, Athena, DivaCup, LENA, Bodybay, LunaCup, etc. We recommend that you check out the website for the most recent prices and offers.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

While we don't yet have a list of recommended gynecologists, we have provided a list of highly-regarded hospitals and clinics in Oman (see below). Generally speaking, the quality of health care and hospitals in Oman is high. While Omani nationals often choose to go to public hospitals for a small fee, it's very common for foreigners (as well as some Omani people) to choose private hospitals. It should be noted that, at public hospitals, you may receive smaller charges for services, regardless of your citizenship, but you can expect longer wait times and greater bureaucracy related to services overall.

Public Hospitals

  • Khoula Hospital: This public hospital, located in Al Wattaya district of Muscat, was established in 1974 and was the first surgical hospital in the country. Khoula Hospital also serves as a teaching hospital for medical students at a variety of universities. They have a special Wattaya Obstetrics & Gynaecology clinic, which has a staff of 50+ people. Address: Al Fahal St, Muscat, Oman. Phone: +968 24 560455.
  • The Royal Hospital: This public hospital, located in the Bosher district of Muscat, was opened in 1987, making it a newer and more "state-of-the-art" hospital. They list obstetrics & gynecology as one of their specialties, and they seem to be the highest rated out of all public hospitals in Muscat (based on Google ratings, October 2017). It's also a teaching hospital. Phone: +968 24 599000
  • Al Nahda Hospital: This public hospital, located in Muttrah Al Kubra district of Muscat, was opened in 1972. However, we're not sure if they currently provide ob/gyn services. You can contact them to confirm.
  • Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH): Call: +968 24 141271. Email: squinfo@squ.edu.om

Private Hospitals

Costs[edit]

You can find a list of health service fees from the Ministry of Health here. It should be noted that these costs apply to public hospitals.

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Oman, women receive 50 days of paid maternity leave for their first five children, as of 2016.[16] Following five children, any other maternity leave time is taken from their vacation time. However, there is a push for women to have a longer paid maternity leave of 60 days,[17] and there is currently no paid paternity leave. To read more about the lack of paternity leave in Oman, as well as public thought on the issue, click here for a 2015 article in the Times of Oman.

Note: We're still trying to research if it's illegal to be pregnant and unmarried in Oman. Since it's illegal in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and since Omani laws and customs share some similarity with these countries (along with notable differences), this may be the case - but we're still investigating. If you know the facts behind this open question, please contribute to this section. Thank you.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Oman, abortion is only permitted to save a woman's life, according to Penal Code of 16 February 1974.[18] [19] In other words, if a pregnancy seriously endangers the life of a pregnant woman, she may legally seek out an abortion. However, for all other cases, an abortion is not permitted. If a woman illegally receives an abortion that she has consented to, or if she illegally tries to perform an abortion herself, she may receive three to six months in prison. Furthermore, if someone tries to illegally perform an abortion on a woman (who has consented to the abortion), that person can receive six months to six years in prison. If someone tries to perform an abortion on a woman who has not consented to the abortion, that person can receive up to five years in prison.[20]

Note: We're still trying to research if it's illegal to be pregnant and unmarried in Oman. Since it's illegal in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and since Omani laws and customs share some similarity with these countries (along with notable differences), this may be the case - but we're still investigating. If you know the facts behind this open question, please contribute to this section. Thank you.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

If you are pregnant and wish to obtain an abortion, your best option is to seek an abortion outside Oman. While there is an underground illegal abortion industry in every country, including Oman, it's not safe and not recommended. Rather, you may consider traveling to countries like Turkey, Greece, Azerbaijan or India, where you can legally obtain an abortion. If you are interested in traveling to Europe, there are also many countries where abortion is legal.

Costs[edit]

If you are pregnant and considering getting an abortion outside Oman, you will need to consider the following costs: transportation to the country where you will be obtaining an abortion, hotel or accommodation costs in that country, cost of the abortion in the country and the total amount of days you may need to be in the country both before and after the abortion.

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Police Emergency: Call 9999
  • Muscat Govenorate Police Headquarters phone: Call 24560021
  • Muscat Police Station: Call 24736611
  • Toll Free Number for Family Counseling (provided by Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour): 800-77788

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

  • To learn about laws related to LGBT issues in Oman, click here. Note that Oman is a conservative country and homosexuality is illegal (as of September 2017).
  • Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour: This ministry focuses on social care, social security, development, etc.
  • The Omani Women Association: "The Omani Women Association was declared in pursuant with the Ministerial Decision No. 32/84 on 19/2/1972. It is a social, cultural and voluntary organization that aims at promoting Omani women in all social and cultural arenas." TELEPHONE: 24602800 – 95373940 - 24693504. EMAIL: OWA70C@GMAIL.COM
  • Women's Guild Oman: The WGO mission is to "offer fellowship, an opportunity for women to meet each other, to enjoy a varied programme of speakers and events, and to raise funds for charitable purposes."
  • Muscat Mums: "Muscat Mums is a support network for families living in Muscat, promoting a sense of community and friendship."

References[edit]

  1. CIA World Factbook - Oman
  2. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  3. Equaldex - Oman
  4. DETERMINANTS OF CONTRACEPTIVE USE IN OMAN, March 2015
  5. [http://files.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/knowyourresponse/countryprogressreports/2014countries/OMN_narrative_report_2014.pdf UNAIDS - COUNTRY PROGRESS REPORT SULTANATE OF OMAN, 2014]
  6. Princeton EC Website
  7. EC Status and Availability: Oman
  8. Princeton EC Website
  9. Princeton EC Website
  10. Princeton EC Website
  11. Princeton EC Website
  12. OMAN - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  13. UNAIDS - COUNTRY PROGRESS REPORT: SULTANATE OF OMAN
  14. UNAIDS - COUNTRY PROGRESS REPORT: SULTANATE OF OMAN
  15. PrEPWatch World Map
  16. PUSH FOR MORE MATERNITY LEAVE IN OMAN
  17. PUSH FOR MORE MATERNITY LEAVE IN OMAN
  18. World Abortion Laws Map
  19. Women on Waves: Oman
  20. Women on Waves: Oman