In 1970 the only medical care in the entire country was offered through a missionary station in Mutrah with approximately 100 people who had any sort of medical training. Today complete medical care is provided to the state's population through a total of 59 hospitals and 242 health centers.
Health care for Omani patients in state medical facilities is free of charge. In addition, there is a wide range of privately funded medical services that includes standard treatments of classical Western medicine and alternative natural therapies, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian medicine.
In the 1980s the Royal Hospital in Muscat was opened, which is now one of the most modern and most specialized health care facilities in the Middle East. The spectrum of services includes treatments in the field of nuclear medicine, as well as transplants and open heart operations.
Through systematically investing in health care, the infant mortality rate has fallen dramatically: In 1970 it stood at 118 deaths per thousand births, while today it stands at only 10. During the same time period, life expectancy has risen from 49.3 to 74.22 years.
Initially, many medical professionals were necessarily recruited from abroad, due to a lack of educated Omanis, especially in the caring professions. Today the vast majority of employees in the field of health care are Omanis. In 1993, the first physicians trained in the country completed their exams at the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. Nowadays, depending on the department, the proportion of Omani physicians remains between 10% and 50%.
In its report from the year 2000, the World Health Organization put Oman as number one in the world for the efficiency of its health care.