Socioeconomic Inequality in Health Domains in Oman: Evidence from Oman World Health Survey
M. Mazharul Islam* and Ahmed Al-Hadhrami
Department of Statistics, College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman
Abstract: Socioeconomic inequality in health domains is a major challenge in public health in both developed and developing countries. The objective of this study was to assess the socioeconomic inequalities in various health domains in Oman. Data for the study was obtained from the 2008 World Health Survey in Oman, which covered a nationally representative sample of 3,370 Omani adults. Overall self-rated health (SRH) status and the functional difficulties with eight health domains: mobility; self-care, pain and discomfort, cognition, interpersonal activities, vision, sleep and energy, and affect, were used as the outcome variables. Level of education and wealth quintiles were used as the proxy measures of the socioeconomic status (SES). Both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used for data analysis. The results revealed significant socioeconomic inequalities in health outcomes for most of the health domains and for overall SRH in Oman. Adults with no education as well as with poorest wealth quintiles had significantly higher rate of poor health. For most of the health domains, a descending gradient in the prevalence of poor health with the level of education and wealth quintiles have been observed. However, education-related inequalities in poor health across the eight domains and the overall health status were found to be more pronounced and consistent than the wealth-related inequalities in poor health. Wealth quintiles showed no significant association with overall SRH and many health domains. The prevailing educational and wealth related inequalities in health underscores the need for policy-making in regard to reduce the inequalities in specific domains of health and overall health. There is a need for research to examine the ways in which socioeconomic factors mediate changes in health domains as well as overall health. The results from this study are of relevance to public health policymakers in developing interventions for specific health domains and overall health status.
Keywords: Socio-Economic Inequality, Health Domain, Poor Health, Education, Functional Health and Oman.