With its healthcare system being ranked among the top five in the world and the first in the Middle East, Qatar in 2019 continued to take the healthcare services to higher standards with the addition of several new services and facilities.
Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, ranked Qatar as the fifth best healthcare system taking into account the massive developments that have taken place in the health sector in the recent times. The institute highlighted improved life expectancy, better health outcomes, and investment in health infrastructure for ranking Qatar fifth. Qatar has risen in ranking from 13th place in the previous year.
Meanwhile, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) kept expanding its facilities and services all through the year with many more unique services added to several departments.
Close on the heels of opening a number of facilities in 2018, HMC opened its new Trauma and Emergency Center, one of the largest in the region, along with Qatar’s first Hyperbaric Therapy Unit in May 2019.
The new Hyperbaric Therapy Unit houses a cutting-edge hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber that can hold up to 18 people and provides oxygen therapy for a range of medical conditions as well as decompression treatment.
The new centre will also expand and improve upon HMC’s capacity to care for patients in need of trauma care with the first floor housing the Hamad Trauma Center, Qatar’s major trauma facility. Receiving around 2,000 cases annually, it provides care to people with serious injuries from across Qatar. The facility also benefits from five trauma and emergency rooms which are fully equipped to be converted into mini operating theatres in the event of a mass casualty incident or an accident requiring immediate surgical intervention.
HMC has also made it a point to focus on patient centred care and launched a pilot programme in 2019. About 1,000 staff members of the five facilities of HMC were trained in patient-centred care in the year. In the process, 20 staff from HMC have been awarded a Fellowship in Person-Centred Care by US-based healthcare organisation, Planetree International, the first in the world to receive the fellowship.
Another significant development in the healthcare sector was the Family Medicine Model launched by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) to provide integrated healthcare services.
According to the model, each person is assigned a family practitioner and access to a trained health team that provides appropriate level of advice, diagnoses and treatment, with continuity of care across the health system and co-ordinated health services. It is intended to support people to live healthier lives in their communities, from a healthy birth, to a vibrant old-age, free from the burden of disease.
PHCC has also continued to provide the ‘Screen for Life’ programme to fight cancer with special screening facilities for breast and bowel cancer. Screen for Life encourages women aged 45-69 to undergo complimentary mammogram tests at its spa-like screening suites in the Al Wakra, Leabaib and Rawdat Al Khail Health Centres. Screening for bowel cancer is offered for men and women aged between 50-74 with early detection leading to a possible 90% survival rate. The programme has also a dedicated mobile screening unit that travels to various parts of the country offering screening for the disease.