Minister of Public Health HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari has underlined that the health sector in Qatar receives great attention from the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir of State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Dr Al Kuwari praised the resilience of Qatar's healthcare sector during her address at the opening ceremony of the Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 2023, where more than 3,000 healthcare professionals are gathering, in-person and virtually, for this year's Forum, the biggest event of its kind in the region dedicated to healthcare quality and safety.
"I would like to start by saying what a pleasure it is to be holding our first in-person Middle East Forum since 2019," Dr Al Kuwari said, adding that, “As with many aspects of life, we had to change the way we do things throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and that meant delivering this important Forum virtually. But COVID-19 did not stop us; we just had to adapt and do things differently. This is a wonderful example of Healthcare Resilience in Extraordinary Times; the perfect theme for this year's Forum."
She said, "In Qatar, we are fortunate to be guided by the wise leadership of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who has emphasized resilience in all our country plans and policies. This has meant that as a country we were well positioned to successfully face challenges such as COVID-19. And our National Vision 2030 has driven us to seek to excel in the delivery of healthcare to all those living in Qatar so that we can have a healthy thriving population. His Highness also places great importance in global health security and Qatar supplies countries in crisis through its relief programs such as the most recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.”
She commended the healthcare sector's response to COVID-19, explaining that by working together across the healthcare system, in collaboration with the community, healthcare teams have been central to Qatar having one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates and one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world.
During her address, Dr Al Kuwari also highlighted the healthcare sector's contribution to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
“After 12 years of planning and preparation under the vision and direction of Qatar's leaders, the nation hosted a truly incredible tournament that was widely acclaimed as the greatest ever FIFA World Cup. Many sectors from across Qatar played an important role in the tournament's success and as a healthcare system we have been at the forefront of these efforts,” she said.
Dr Al Kuwari added, “The planning, preparation and delivery of our comprehensive FIFA World Cup strategy required a truly incredible effort from healthcare teams across the sector and I am deeply grateful to everyone who played their part in this remarkable accomplishment," added HE Dr. Al Kuwari.
The minister also noted that despite COVID-19 and the FIFA World Cup making the past three years the most challenging period for healthcare staff in recent memory, Qatar's dedicated healthcare teams have made enormous progress away from these two areas of work to continue to improve the quality of care delivered across the health system.
The minister highlighted several of the health sector's key achievements since 2020, including Opening Aisha Bint Hamad Al Attiyah Hospital the second largest HMC hospital in terms of size and capacity further strengthening the public sector hospital network; Opening 6 new state-of-the-art health and wellness centers, taking the total number of Primary Health Care Corporation health centers to 31 and improving care provision in the community; Achieving World Health Organization "Healthy City" status for all eight municipalities, becoming the first country in the world to achieve this status for all its municipalities, in addition to similar awards for Qatar University and Education City; Designation for HMC's Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care as WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, in addition to Collaborating Center agreements for the WHO Collaborating Center for Disease Epidemiology Analytics on HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Viral Hepatitis with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, and the WHO Collaborating Center for Treating Tobacco Dependence with the HMC's Tobacco Control Center; Implementing a range of telemedicine and virtual services across the public health sector, including the National Mental Health Helpline, making access to care more convenient than ever before; Gaining Planetree International Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care at 5 HMC facilities, formally recognizing the highest levels of achievement in person-centered care; Having 4 HMC hospitals and Sidra Medicine ranked among the world's top 250 academic medical centers, highlighting the health sector's commitment to combining patient care, medical research and education to achieve the best outcomes and experience for patients.
"Yet despite these incredible achievements, we are committed to constantly moving forward," Dr Al Kuwari said.
"Throughout 2023, we will focus our efforts on implementing the new National Insurance Program; providing fast access to care for patients; and ensuring Qatar's healthcare system continues to be a regional leader for quality and safety in healthcare, delivering services on par with the world's best health systems."
This year's forum will focus on Healthcare Resilience in Extraordinary Times with five learning tracks for attendees: Improvement Science; Person-Centered Care; Flow, Safety and Value Improvement; Leadership, Resilience and Sustainability; Population Health.