Interview: Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari
Will lower hydrocarbons revenues impact spending on the public health care system?
HANAN MOHAMED AL KUWARI: We are committed to contributing to the nation’s development under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, and supporting Qatar National Vision 2030. In his address to the Advisory Council in November 2015, the emir said that despite the global decline of prices in the energy market, “we will continue to implement infrastructure development and human development projects”. The 2016 budget allocated QR20.9bn ($5.7bn) for spending on health care, an increase of QR5.2bn ($1.4bn) over the previous budget. In 2014 Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) delivered more than 2m episodes of patient care, and demand for specialised services continues to grow. Between January 2015 and April 2016, the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) saw more than 3m patients. We are building on our track record of delivering high-quality health care to the people of Qatar.
Where do expansion plans at Hamad bin Khalifa Medical City (HBKMC) currently stand?
AL KUWARI: HMC has made significant progress in adding new and upgraded facilities and services, and targeting areas with the highest need in the community. We will be opening seven new hospitals and adding more than 1100 new beds to our system by the end of 2017. Significant progress is being made on the opening of the new facilities at HBKMC. The next round of openings includes the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, the Communicable Disease Hospital, which is a first for the region, the Ambulatory Care Centre and the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre. Also under construction are three new hospitals for male labourers in the Doha, Mesaieed and Al Khor industrial areas. These new hospitals and facilities will revolutionise health care delivery in Qatar by increasing bed capacity and giving our patients faster access to specialised care where and when they need it. The new hospitals and facilities will also free up capacity at our existing hospitals to enable the continued development and expansion of services. We are also making fundamental changes to our primary health sector. The PHCC is also undergoing a major expansion, with plans to increase health centres from the existing 23 to 35 by 2019 and replacing seven existing centres with new modern facilities. The new centres, the first of which opened in late 2015, provide holistic health care services including family medicine, dental, ophthalmology, well women clinics, well child clinics and home care services, among others.
What are the primary focus areas of the Academic Health System (AHS)?
AL KUWARI: I am proud to say that our AHS is developing rapidly. Since its launch in 2011, HMC and its AHS partners have worked together in pursuit of our vision of becoming the leading health care system in the region. The partnership has brought about successes that are changing the way that we care for patients, and making HMC and Qatar’s AHS partners leaders in clinical care, education and research. The transformative power of academic health can be seen through initiatives such as the Neurosciences Institute or the recently launched Qatar Metabolic Institute. Through these institutes we are seeing tangible benefits for patients, such as reduced length of stay and better clinical outcomes. The institutes are also creating new training an development opportunities for our current staff, and helping shape the next generation of health professionals who will form the backbone of the health system of the future. We are also making significant investments and achievements in research that are attracting international attention, with partners and collaborators from some of the leading health care systems and research institutes around the world.
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