The health system in the State of Qatar has demonstrated a high ability to respond rapidly and effectively to the successive waves of the pandemic that the whole world has witnessed since the beginning of 2020 due to the spread of Covid-19.
The response of the health sector in the State of Qatar to the COVID-19 pandemic was not random, but rather it was the result of a complete scientific strategy and pre-established plans to deal with any pandemics.
HE Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari stressed on more than one
occasion the commitment to the “Health For All” vision, as the health sector has made great progress in recent years to protect and support the health and well-being of Qatar’s population thanks to the wise leadership’s unlimited support for the health sector.
Regarding the importance of protecting the population of the State of Qatar, Her Excellency also stressed the importance of ensuring that the Qatar’s population lives in an environment conducive to good health and have the necessary knowledge and tools to support health.
Thanks to its successful proactive strategy, the State of Qatar managed to address the Covid-19 pandemic and overcome three waves of the pandemic, through a methodology based on a scientific and cooperative approach among all government agencies, local and international partnerships, and community participation.
Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari underlined in a statement last year that the health system in the State of Qatar is always ready for any circumstances, due to its experience, commitment and solidarity of the healthcare system in the country to achieve the desired goals.
The health system in Qatar works within the framework of its response to any pandemic or abnormal health situation in a proactive, preparatory and scientific manner to address any exceptional circumstances through a robust system in which all the country’s agencies and parties participate.
The proactive steps taken by the State of Qatar to confront waves of pandemics in general are evident in the establishment of a robust and developed health system and solid health infrastructure, including a wide range of hospitals, health centers and specialized research institutes.
The number of hospitals in the public sector in the State of Qatar increased to 16 in 2022, compared to six hospitals in 2011, when the first National Health Strategy was launched. Last year, several new facilities were opened and established at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), including Al Maha Pediatric Specialized Care Center, the permanent intensive care unit (ICU), the Physiotherapy-Orthopedic unit, a Smoking Cessation Clinic and the Advanced Wound Care Section. Additionally, HMC’s Trauma and Emergency Center expanded assessment area for female patients by 60%. The Pediatric Speech Therapy unit at Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI) was also expanded with the addition of 12 therapy rooms.
The number of health centers, including centers affiliated with the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), and those run by the Qatar Red Crescent Society in accordance with an agreement with the Ministry of Public Health, increased to 33 centers in 2022.
Also the private health sector witnessed a significant expansion number of facilities increased during 2022 and reached 10 hospitals, 19 day surgery centers, and 390 general and specialised health centers, including dental centers, in addition to 31 diagnostic centers, including medical laboratories, diagnostic radiology centers, and dental laboratories.
The number of health workers in the public and private sectors has also increased to 46,371 in 2023, compared to 20,682 in 2011.
In 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) certified all the municipalities of Qatar as “Healthy Cities”, thus becoming the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean to obtain the accreditation for all of its cities. The Healthy City programme aims to improve the health of populations by promoting health and well-being through the work of all sectors together to enhance public health measures in daily life environments.
All these advanced and modern facilities are considered the shield wall for any pandemic, as the health system in the State of Qatar can cope with any health emergency according to the type of health pandemic, as happened in the Covid-19 pandemic, when most health centers and hospitals have turned into examination, treatment and quarantine centers, while continuing to provide medical services to the people on a regular basis or through remote medical consultations.
The progress made in the health sector in Qatar has recently received global recognition, with five hospitals in Qatar have been ranked among the world’s top 250 academic medical centers, and two hospitals achieved top 100 rankings. This achievement affirmed the sector’s commitment to combining patient care, medical research and education to achieve the best outcomes and experiences for patients.
The State of Qatar also ranked 15th for the countries that dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic and was the only Arab country that was included in this classification in the German Der Spiegel magazine.
This indicates that the health system in Qatar is capable of responding rapidly and effectively to emergencies and any pandemic through a response plan, communication and increasing the capacity of healthcare facilities.
Also in 2022, the WHO Country Office was opened in Qatar, in order to strengthen the Organization’s work with health authorities in the State of Qatar and other partners at the national level such as United Nations agencies and other relevant authorities.
In dealing with such health conditions, the State of Qatar always seeks a scientific, evidence-based approach by making decisions according to the results of scientific studies and research, which contributes to improving its response to any pandemic.
The scientific research carried out in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic and was published in the most important scientific journals, in addition to adopting strict travel policies that take into account the nature of the spread of infection, the ability of the health system to absorb it, as well as the strength and resilience of the health system and its ability to adapt with the plans set by the State to raise capacity and redistribute specialized cadres quickly and effectively, were all factors that helped in the success in addressing the pandemic, and they are the same factors that are followed to address any other pandemics or health emergencies.
The State of Qatar is also capable of implementing rapid and comprehensive vaccination campaigns to combat any viruses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar implemented the largest vaccination campaign in its history for citizens and residents for free. This was an important factor that contribute significantly to its response to the pandemic. The State of Qatar is ranked among the top ten countries in the world with regard to vaccination coverage against COVID-19 for its population.
In 2022, the Ministry of Public Health prepared the COVID-19 Vaccine Guide for 2022, the Seasonal Flu Guide for 2022/2023, the Meningitis Vaccination Guide, the National Guide for Defining Communicable Disease Cases, and the National Action Plan for Integrated Response and Prevention of Monkeypox and HIV, the national guide for responding to outbreaks, as well as the operational guide for mobile food laboratories, in addition to preparing the air quality assessment report in the State of Qatar in the context of addressing epidemics and communicable diseases.
Last year, work was launched to develop the Qatar platform for the exchange of health information, which will contribute significantly to linking the various electronic systems to the platform, thus the contribution of all activities to data collection and analyzing them according to work requirements, in order to support the decision-making process in all health conditions.
Qatar’s health system to address any epidemics is based on the latest scientific and clinical evidence, which confirms the scientific and proactive approach it follows to address various emergencies and pandemics, as well as raising community awareness through media campaigns that are implemented to promote awareness of the importance of following preventive measures and taking antiviral vaccinations.
The health system in the State of Qatar also deals with pandemics through the proactive investigation and examination system, which always contributes to limiting the spread of any pandemic. It is the same approach taken by the Ministry of Public Health to address infectious epidemics through the proactive examination system.
During Covid-19, the State of Qatar implemented a comprehensive strategy to protect the population from the risk of infection. In this context, it adopted a comprehensive approach at the level of all state institutions, while applying effective governance policies, relying on science and facts, and involving the public in addressing the pandemic.
The Ministry of Public Health always emphasizes that all measures it takes to address epidemics are guided by the scientific approach, evaluation of doctors and the optimal use of resources, in addition to the research conducted by doctors and researchers in Qatar.
The State of Qatar has proven, through its partnerships, methodologies, and health and scientific systems, that it has taken all proactive measures that prevent the spread of epidemics through a set of studied measures that are subject to scientific experiments and research.
The State of Qatar believes that investing in the health sector is the most successful way to address any exceptional health conditions such as pandemics and epidemics. Despite the great efforts made by the health sector to combat Covid-19 pandemic over three years, the healthcare system in the State of Qatar continued its growth and development. The investment in new health facilities, services and technologies contributed to the development of the infrastructure of the health sector in the country in order to meet health needs in light of the steady population increase in the country, which are also factors that enable the health sector to deal with any pandemic.
The Ministry of Public Health has also prepared the National Health Security Plan, which would enhance the State of Qatar’s commitment to the international health regulations, with the participation of the World Health Organization and partners in the health sector. The Ministry also worked to add a number of precautionary and complementary plans to the national framework for health emergencies.
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