May 2015

HMC to host three day Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 2015

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is gearing up to host the third annual Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare (ME Forum), where nearly 3,000 healthcare professionals from Qatar and the Middle East region will spend three days learning and discussing the latest quality and safety improvement practices.

The ME Forum is seen as an important professional development opportunity for nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, hospital administration, and medical students in Qatar and beyond, with the wide-ranging content contained across six keynote addresses and 33 interactive workshops to be presented by local and international healthcare experts.  

This year’s forum content will focus on enhancing patient-centered care through enriching patient engagement practices, establishing better patient flows across healthcare delivery systems, implementing a range of specialized intervention programs, and showcasing improvement methodologies to deliver improved patient outcomes.

There will also be over 240 patient safety and quality improvement initiatives from across the GCC region exhibited in a poster and storyboard competition, and a Knowledge Zone that will feature a number of local quality and safety interactive displays from HMC, the Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute (HHQI), the Academic Health System (AHS) and the Ambulance Service. Forum Co-Chair and HMC Chief of Planning and Performance, Mr. Gary Needle, said the forum has become a significant component of the GCC’s healthcare calendar. 
“The Middle East Forum is becoming an important regional platform for healthcare professionals where quality and safety improvements are discussed openly; ideas are shared and challenges are highlighted.
“We are excited to see such a large collaboration of peers across numerous disciplines, who are all here with the ultimate purpose of learning about what they can do to provide safer and healthier outcomes for their patients,” added Mr. Needle.
HMC has again partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leading non-profit healthcare quality improvement organization based in the United States, to organize this year’s forum. The ME Forum is a key component of HMC’s Quality Improvement Strategy, which supports Qatar’s National Health Strategy.
The Middle East Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare 2015 runs from 29 -31 May at Qatar National Convention Centre. Information on the ME Forum can be found at   

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Hamad Medical Corporation

HMC’s Engineering Department Holds Employee Training Certification Ceremony

Doha, 17 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Engineering Department recently held its second employee training certification ceremony to honor 49 engineers and technicians who have successfully completed training courses.

Speaking about the event, Mr. Dhafi Al Marri, Assistant Executive Director of the Engineering Department said: “Through programs conducted by the Training and Development section of the Engineering Department, in collaboration with the Engineering Profession Awareness Program, our department aims to develop a specialized technical team to lead engineering works at HMC.”

The event was held at Bayt Al Dhiyafah Conference Center in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City (HBKMC) and was attended by Mr. Naji Al Mannai, Executive Director for Development of HBKMC and Mr. Robert Charles Smith, Executive Director of the Engineering Department.

Mr. Michael Strachan, Assistant Executive Director of the Engineering Department, Mr. Abdulla Khalaf Al Kubaisi, Head of Engineering Training and Development, Mr. Vincent R. Cicchino, Deputy Chief of Facilities and Mr. Ammar Al Awad, General Manager of Environmental and Green Energy Services Company were also present.

Mr. Strachan said the department has held several training courses for its 339 engineers and technicians and that three specialized technical courses were also delivered and attended by 53 employees. In addition, 38 hospitality training sessions were held for 741 staff in three different languages.

Mr. Al Marri said the training programs were in addition to the department’s program of encouraging high school students to take up engineering professions through HMC scholarships.

“Members of our Engineering Department visit schools across the country and encourage them to consider careers in the field,” he said. “During these visits, we hold engineering and technical training programs to equip the students with the right skills, outlining the potential for further study and certification.”

As part of its commitment to encouraging high school students to take up engineering professions, HMC has established a partnership with Qatar Independent Technical School (QITS) and developed a two-year professional training program in addition to providing scholarships for students.

An agreement has also been reached with Al Wakra Independent Secondary School for Boys where HMC will be the financial sponsor of the school’s career fair.
Ms. Fatima Al Abdulla, a Qatari member of the engineering training and development team who joined HMC in 2012, spoke about her experience at the department. She said she had been provided with many opportunities for further studies.  She urged all HMC’s Qatari staff to complete their studies, commenting that she has seen improvement in her communication skills, ability to use technology, organizational and problem-solving skills since completing the courses.

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HMC Requires Parents or Guardians to be Present during a Medical Assessment of their Sick Children

Doha, 16 May, 2015: With effect from April 1, all children seeking treatment at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Pediatric Emergency Centers (PECs) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive non-urgent medical care.

According to Dr. Khalid Al Ansari, Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Services at HMC, this new rule is applicable to all HMC’s network of hospitals and facilities and is a precautionary effort to prevent children being brought by the family’s housekeeper, helper or driver instead of a parent or guardian.

“As with adults, we have a duty of care to ensure that any child requiring medical assistance is given the safest and most effective treatment,” explained Dr. Al Ansari. “It is desirable that before a doctor can treat a patient, they need a family member to give their consent for medical procedures to be undertaken, or for medication or therapies to be administered,” said Dr. Al Ansari.

“According to Article 49 of Qatar Civil Law - Number 22 of 2004, adulthood starts from 18 years of age in Qatar. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a minor, thus we need to have an adult parent or guardian to give consent on a child’s behalf to carry out any medical procedures,” he noted.
There are very important and practical reasons why this ruling requires that a sick child must be accompanied by his or her parent. It is only a parent who can provide details of a child’s medical history including medication allergies and immunization records.

“If a parent is present during their child’s assessment, they will be able to receive first-hand, all the necessary advice about medication and any follow-up care pertaining to their child’s health,” stressed Dr. Al Ansari.

There are also often language barriers between healthcare workers and helpers or drivers. Having a parent or guardian present ensures they get vital information about their child’s condition directly and are then able to make informed decisions about next steps,” he said.

However, Dr. Al Ansari emphasized that when implementing the new measures, no child brought into PEC without a parent will be turned away.

“Any child requiring urgent and critical care is attended to and put in a stable condition until a parent arrives and other necessary procedures can be done. PEC staff will make all efforts to contact the child’s parent and keep them informed until they arrive,” he said.

Dr. Al Ansari acknowledged that there may be cases where a child’s parents are not able to attend. He said in such cases, PEC will prefer that a blood relative (such as a grandparent, uncle or aunt) be with the child in order to provide the necessary emotional and psychological support that the child requires during their assessment.

“Non-urgent cases are assessed, made comfortable and kept in the PEC waiting area with their helper or driver until a parent arrives and a full assessment of the child can be undertaken. In this case, the child may have to wait longer than usual,” added Dr. Al Ansari.

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Al Wakra Hospital launches new Triage Areas in Adult Emergency

Doha 16 May 2015: Al Wakra Hospital (AWH) – a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC),  recently launched two new dedicated areas for male and female patients seeking emergency care at its Adult Emergency Department.

The newly-established ‘male triage and fast track area’ and ‘female triage and fast track area’ have implemented the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS), an evidence-based 5-point scale system that ensures patients are prioritized and streamlined according to the type and severity of their presenting signs and symptoms.

The new triage areas will complement the two existing fast track ‘see and treat’ areas for GCC males and bachelor male residents in Qatar with minor illnesses.  It will also support another long-established dedicated fast track ‘see and treat’ area for females.

These areas are staffed with nurses who have received six months of training on the CTAS system and are well-qualified to determine patient needs before they are seen by an emergency physician.

When patients arrive at the triage areas, a frontline nurse will check and record their vital signs and sick patients will be immediately transferred to urgent care areas. Both triage areas are able to accommodate up to four patients at a time and are supported by their respective waiting areas.

Head of Adult Emergency Department and Managing Senior Consultant, Ambulatory Division at AWH, Dr. Muayad Kassim Khalid stated: “The Adult Emergency Department at AWH is one of the busiest in Qatar. In March of this year alone, we received more than 21,000 patients. With the rising number of people requiring our services, we are pleased to offer these new extensions which are designed according to international best practice.”

“These new areas will aid ED professionals to rapidly identify patients with urgent conditions, making the delivery of emergency care much more efficient. This is part of our ongoing efforts to provide the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every one of our patients.” Dr. Khalid added.

The Adult Emergency Department is located on the first floor of Al Wakra Hospital and can be reached round-the-clock through the front desk line by phone on 40114656.

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Hamad Medical Corporation

HMC achieves ACGME-International Accreditation for an additional seven residency programs

Doha 14 May 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation's (HMC) Department of Medical Education held a celebration event earlier this month to mark the accreditation of an additional seven of its residency training programs by  ACGME-I, the international arm of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The ACGME accredits US based hospitals and medical centers to ensure the highest standard of training for doctors in their residency and fellowship years. The ACGME-I accredits international hospitals and medical centers using the same rigorous standards.

ACGME-I accreditation is based on meeting the required standards in six major areas of medical competency including medical knowledge, clinical skills, interpersonal and communication skills, practice based learning and improvement, system based practice and professionalism. These competencies are reflected in the residency training programs, which typically last between four and six years depending on the specialty.

The importance of ACGME-I accreditation in terms of HMC's academic health strategy and its overall commitment to continuous quality improvement and patients' safety were highlighted during the event.

"This achievement solidifies HMC's position as an internationally recognized teaching institution," said Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director of HMC. "As a key academic health partner, we are committed to adopting the highest international standards for doctors' education by preparing our future medical workforce through the accreditation of our own institution and, residency and fellowship programs. This is important for the development of our staff, the reputation of our organization, and above all, for the benefit of our patients and community."

In 2013, seven residency training programs were accredited by the ACGME-I including Diagnostic Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Urology.

Seven additional programs were submitted for accreditation by the ACGME-I in early 2014 and were successfully accredited in December 2014. These programs include Anesthesiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, General Surgery and Transitional Year. The accreditation is valid from July 1, 2014 and will remain effective for two years.  At the end of the two years, the programs will again be reviewed by the ACGME-I in order to maintain accreditation.

HMC is the first hospital system in the region and Qatar, and the second country outside of the United States after Singapore, to achieve institutional accreditation from the ACGME-I. This achievement highlights the fact that HMC meets the highest and most rigorous standards in specialized physician training.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Director of Medical Education and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Medical Education at HMC, explained the importance ACGME-I accreditation.

"The internationally recognized accreditation of doctors' training programs supports HMC's position as an academic medical center, in line with academic health strategy. Accreditation helps improve the quality and safety of care provided," said Dr. Al Khal.

He noted that accreditation provides a better learning environment for the medical students from Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar (WCMC-Q) and Qatar University's College of Medicine (QU CMED).

"HMC, WCMC-Q and the new QU CMED collaborate closely to ensure that high standards of training are maintained to deliver highly trained physicians who will become the medical leaders of the future," Dr. Al Khal added.

ACGME-I is a non-governmental organization that accredits medical graduate training programs outside of the United States to ensure that residents and fellows undergo a high standard of structured specialist training. This training is supervised by dedicated senior clinicians in a positive learning environment to develop graduates' knowledge and skills and enabling them to become highly competent physicians. 

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HMC organizes First Qatar-Turkey Urology Conference

The Urology Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently organized the first Qatar-Turkey Urology Symposium in collaboration with the Turkish Association of Urology in Antalya, Turkey.

Dr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Consultant in Surgery and Head of HMC's Urology Department, stated that the symposium was a result of the fruitful collaboration between the department and the Turkish Association of Urology. As many as 30 healthcare professionals from HMC took part in the symposium during which they exchanged knowledge and discussed the latest diagnostic and therapeutic advances in the field of urology.

At the symposium, Dr. Al Rumaihi presented a paper on Prostate Tumors; Dr. Sabah Al Qadhi, Consultant in Surgery at HMC's Urology Department spoke about Urinary Bladder Fistulas; and Dr. Abdulla Al Naimi, also a Consultant in Surgery at HMC's Urology Department presented a paper on Minimally Invasive Surgery of Ureteral Calculi. The Turkish participants also gave three presentations on the Turkish education system, training and new techniques in urosurgery.

The opening session of the symposium was jointly chaired by Dr. Abdulla Al Ansari, Head of the Surgery Department at HMC and Dr. Ates Kdioglu, Head of the Turkish Association of Urology.

Dr. Rumaihi said that the second Qatar-Turkey Urology Symposium is being planned within the next one or two years, adding that plans were also being discussed between the two countries to boost the exchange of expertise and knowledge in the field of urology.

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Women’s Hospital urges pregnant women to check early for Gestational Diabetes

Doha 13 May 2015Women’s Hospital – a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) - is encouraging women in Qatar to get tested for gestational diabetes (GDM) early in their pregnancy to prevent complications.

Dr. Faten Al-Taher, Senior Consultant at Women’s Hospital stated: “Women may be at particular risk of having gestational diabetes if they are overweight and have a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or greater. Women who are sedentary and have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or have high blood pressure and smoke are at an increased risk. In addition, those who suffer from high cholesterol, have a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome or have had a baby weighing four kilograms or more, are at an even greater risk.”

According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 33 percent of pregnant women in Qatar have GDM. “This is largely due to leading an unhealthy lifestyle or having a history of diabetes in the family,” stated Moufida Bent Belgacemazeke, Senior Staff Nurse at Women’s Hospital. “In order to be proactive about checking for GDM early, all patients booked at the primary healthcare centers are routinely tested through fasting and checking the patient’s blood sugar. At this point, patients that are high risk are checked again at 16 weeks of pregnancy, and those that test normal are checked again at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy through a glucose tolerance test,” she added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also concurs that GDM is a serious condition, resulting in birthing complications, an increase in Cesarean section births, large babies and a higher risk of obesity for the baby in later years.

Dr. Faten explained further: “If GDM is caught early, we can manage the treatment of our patients more effectively by putting them on a special diet. If their blood sugar is still not controlled they will be prescribed oral medication and then if this is not effective they will be administered insulin to manage their diabetic condition.”

She also added: “Women that are diabetic should consult their physician three months prior to pregnancy. Doctors will be able to provide valuable advice to control the patient’s diabetes such as taking 5ml of folic acid daily and adjusting their sugar beforehand. Doctors will also take proactive measures with the patient such as ensuring there are no issues with their eyes and kidneys before pregnancy. The reality is, if a woman has high blood sugar during her pregnancy, she is at high risk of having a miscarriage or having a baby with abnormalities.”

Women diagnosed with GDM will also be referred to a dietician at Women’s Hospital who will work with them to control diet and regulate blood sugar levels. The dietician will suggest lifestyle changes such as adding more physical activity into their daily routine.

“It is essential for women to take better care of themselves by living a healthy lifestyle. As mothers, women will be the healthcare champions and role models for their families,” stressed Rihab Elsheikh Elsanosi, Dietician Supervisor at Women’s Hospital.

Ms. Elsanosi also counselled diabetic women to distribute their daily food intake throughout the day to include three main meals and three snacks. She recommends that these women do not skip any meals or go for long periods of time without eating and, that they consume fewer carbohydrates at breakfast because blood sugar levels tend to be higher early in the morning.

She advised that women should choose whole grains including whole-wheat bread, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta, instead of white bread, white rice, or white flour based pasta. They should also increase their vegetables servings to at least five servings a day and limit their fruit intake to two to three portions per day, preferably consuming them at different times as a snack.

Ms. Elsanosi said that diabetic women should eat lean cuts of meat and low or fat-free dairy products such as skimmed milk, non-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier alternatives. “Diabetic women should cook with liquid oils (olive, canola) instead of solid fats (butter, margarine, shortening) when preparing meals. They should also avoid high-calorie snacks and desserts, including soda with sugar, fruit punch, candy, chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream.”

Women’s Hospital offers daily nutritional counselling without an appointment (walk-in clinic) and a weekly group education clinic in English, Arabic and Hindi, every Monday from 11 am - 12 pm, aimed at educating women on living with diabetes and offering preventative counseling to help them avoid this chronic disease.

Women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes will be referred to a Women’s Hospital diabetes educator for general counselling about the disease and the risks. They will also gain information on how to administer insulin injections, treat  low and high blood sugar, how to use a glucometer, chart their blood sugar levels and follow home glucose monitoring.

Furthermore, all patients have access to a diabetic hotline: 4439-6980 to access diabetic counselling, five days a week (Sunday to Thursday) from 8 am – 2 pm.

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Hamad Medical Corporation

HMC celebrates World Hand Hygiene Day

Doha 13 May 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently marked the World Hand Hygiene Day (WHHD) 2015 by holding a number of activities across its eight hospitals to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene.

The WHHD is a global campaign declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), which focuses on promoting good hand hygiene practices among individuals across healthcare systems.

According to WHO, every year, millions of patients globally are affected by healthcare-associated infections. More than half of these infections can be avoided with properly cleaned hands.

The day-long campaign was organized at HMC by the Corporate Infection and Prevention Control Program (CIPC), under the theme “Save Lives: Clean Your Hands.” The CIPC is a strategic program that aims to develop effective infection control practices to drive continuous quality improvement within the organization.  Such practices can prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections due to blood or other bodily fluids.

Dr. Jameela Al Ajmi, Assistant Executive Director CIPC Program, commented on the importance of the campaign: “Hand washing with soap and water has been proven to be one of the most effective and inexpensive measures to prevent the transmission of infections among healthcare professionals, patients and their families, as well as visitors at the hospital. This campaign is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not only our patients but also our staff who are committed to delivering the best possible care.”

During the campaign staff were encouraged to revisit The five key moments of hand washing defined by WHO for healthcare workers are: before touching a patient, before cleaning and aseptic procedures (insertion of devices such as catheters), after contact with bodily fluids, after touching a patient, and after touching a patient’s surroundings.

Dr. Moza Al Ishaq, Assistant Executive Director of Corporate Risk Management at HMC, noted: “This is the third year HMC is supporting the global effort to educate the public and staff about hand hygiene. One of the major objectives of the campaign is to foster and strengthen a culture of safety at every level within healthcare facilities in Qatar. This will certainly reflect in better patient care and enhanced treatment outcomes. ”

A number of educational and entertaining activities were organized as part of the awareness-raising campaign such as site visits and interaction with the visitors in hospital lobbies by a staff member from each hospital dressed in a hand-costume. The representative distributed free-of-cost hand hygiene gels and gifts to staff, patients and visiting families.

Additionally, CIPC team members also visited patient clinical areas in different units to distribute educational pamphlets, engage in discussions about ways to adopt good hand hygiene practices and to demonstrate proper hand washing techniques.

HMC is also encouraging women to lead the way in establishing good hand hygiene practices among their families. “We recognize women as healthcare champions as they can instill the importance of hand hygiene in children from a very young age. This will definitely help promote a culture of prevention and safety within families which will enhance the overall health of individuals across the society,” said Dr. Huda Saleh, Acting Chair of Quality and Safety at Women’s Hospital.

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Hamad Medical Corporation Celebrates Achievements in Medical Education

Doha, 9 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) this week has celebrated its achievements in the field of medical education and has formally recognized its latest cohort of graduating residents and fellows at the Excellence in Medical Education Ceremony held at Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).

During the ceremony, HMC leadership recognized and awarded its consultants and specialists who played a leadership role as course directors, instructors and teachers in its Faculty and Residents Development Program. Under this program the physician and scientist Course Directors of the following courses were recognized; Communication Skills, Professionalism, Research Methods, Stress Management, Chief Residents Development, and Simulation programs.

A total of 304 graduating doctors, comprising 212 residents who successfully completed their residency training programs at HMC, 70 Fellows who successfully completed their subspecialty training programs and 22 Qatari physicians and dentists who successfully completed their postgraduate training abroad through the international scholarship programs, were honored at the event. 

The ceremony convened senior leaders and representatives from HMC, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the newly-established Qatar University’s College of Medicine, training faculty, and graduates along with their families.

The residents had received four to seven years, and the fellows 2-13 years, of rigorous training under HMC’s 18 different residency training programs and more than 50 fellowship programs.  The residency training programs prepare doctors to work as specialists in fields such as Anesthesia, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat), Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, or to enroll as fellows into different subspecialties. 

Professor Michael Richmond, Chief Medical Officer at HMC, urged the new graduates to retain their commitment to life-long learning and continue to lead the way in setting higher standards of patient care in the region.
 “We are thrilled to graduate another group of highly-skilled residents and fellows who have undergone rigorous training and have demonstrated the skill and commitment to care for patients. These young doctors will become the clinical leaders of the future and we trust that they have learned not merely to be doctors but have developed the passion to be good doctors with a focus on quality improvement in healthcare.”

In addition to gaining strong clinical knowledge through the residency programs, graduates also benefitted from several other complementary training programs in areas such as communication, professionalism, research, stress management, and evidence-based practice.

The ceremony also saw the recognition of 18 faculty members who were awarded for meritorious teaching. Dr. Abdullatif Al-Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of Medical Education at HMC, commended the faculty for their dedication and persistence to establishing an outstanding learning environment for the residents and fellows, supporting the organizations ambition to become a fully-established academic health system.

“HMC is recognized regionally and internationally as a leader in medical education and has been the center of choice for top medical graduates and clinical faculty from around the world. We are proud of our faculty at HMC who have worked hard to uphold the highest standards in education at the organization, ensuring we provide the best possible medical training to future generation of consultants. We are certain that they will continue to work with the same fervor and improve the standards of medical education in Qatar,” Dr. Al-Khal commented.

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HMC Marks UN Road Safety Week

Doha, 6 May, 2015: The Hamad Trauma Center at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) is commemorating the third UN Global Road Safety Week (GRSW) by signing a Declaration for the Road Safety of Children in Qatar.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the National Committee on Traffic Safety (NCTS) and the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), the team and other stakeholders will sign the declaration to do five key actions to make children safer on the roads.

•    Serve as a role model by always using a seatbelt on every trip I take in a car/vehicle.
•    Observe the school zone speed limit of 30 km/h when I am driving around schools.
•    Transport children, under the age of 10 years, in the back row of my vehicle and restrained using the appropriate car seat or restraint system.
•    Refrain from driving when I am impaired by fatigue, medications, drugs and/or alcohol.
•    Avoid using any form of mobile phone, electronic devices or serious distractions while driving.

The GRSW is a global event, held from 4-10 May 2015, organized in the framework of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 by its lead agency, the World Health Organization. This year, the theme is ‘Children and Road Safety: #SaveKidsLives’.

According to Dr. Hassan Al-Thani, Head of Trauma Services at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) some of the “most important work” to ensure safer roads must be done outside the operating theater.

“We understand that some of our most important work must be done outside of the emergency and operating rooms of the Hamad Trauma Center,” he said adding: “therefore, strengthening our internal partnerships within HMC is the next important step as we continue to align our efforts to improve road safety in Qatar with those of the NCTS.’

Dr. Rafael Consunji, Director of the HMC Injury Prevention Program, summarized the reasons for commemorating this week saying: “Motor vehicle crashes lead to more than 200 serious injuries and 35 deaths to children in Qatar. The fact that nearly 90 percent of these deaths happen at the scene, and are not treated at HMC hospitals highlights the importance of preventing these injuries from happening in the first place.”

Key stakeholders for the health of children from HMC convened to present ongoing efforts to improve the child road safety in Qatar. Dr. Ruben Peralta, Lead Principal Investigator of the Qatar Foundation’s National Priority Research Program (NPRP) grant titled: Young Kids in Safe Seats (Y-KISS) presented the objectives of the grant, citing the important contributions from the Primary Health Care Corporation. He thanked the Qatar Foundation for realizing the importance of the safety of child passengers in Qatar as a national priority issue.

During the stakeholders meeting, Dr. Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, Director of the Hamad International Training Center and the Kulluna for Health and Safety Campaign, described their award-winning Child Passenger Safety Technician Course. Dr. Guy Brisseau, Head of Pediatric Surgery at Sidra Medical and Research Center, presented a summary of the contributions of the HMC-Sick Kids Partnership to improving the quality of Child Transport Heath Research in Qatar, on behalf of Executive Clinical Lead for the Office of Corporate Child Health Planning at HMC, Dr. Abdullah Al-Kaabi.

The event was capped by a symbolic signing of a signboard to indicate the commitment of the participants to the goals of the GRSW and encourage other members of the HMC community and the general public to do the same.

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Hamad Medical Corporation Celebrates International Midwives Day

Doha, 5 May, 2015: Today, those working in midwifery, maternity and newborn services at Women's Hospital - a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) - join midwives and families around the world to celebrate the 2015 International Midwives Day.

The annual day raises awareness and increases visibility of the value of midwifery services in providing maternity care services to women, newborns and their families.

On this important day for midwives all over the world, Sister Haila Salim, Assistant Executive Director of Nursing at Women’s Hospital stated: “With this year’s theme: ‘The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever’, the celebration will certainly help increase awareness of the value of this important profession in providing maternity care services to women, newborns and their families.”

"Midwifery is a noble profession and midwives provide quality, timely and effective, family-centred care and I want to stress more than anything else that midwifery is an essential part of HMC’s health care offering. This is demonstrated by the support our leaders are providing in the education, training and career developments required to keep our midwives motivated and up-to-date with the most advanced methods and best practices to ensure the wellbeing of women and babies in Qatar,” Sister Haila added.

Commenting on the celebration, Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby stated: “I wish all of our midwives have a wonderful International Midwifery Day and thank them for the work they do each and every day and for their continued dedication to improving services for women and their families. Midwives are a valued part of our health system and play an important role in our ability to provide positive birth and postpartum experiences for our patients. This occasion provides an opportune time for us to celebrate and reflect on the important role played by this professional group.”

Every 5 May is recognized worldwide as the International Midwifery Day, where midwives around the globe come together to mark the day and to highlight the important role they are playing on improving the quality of life for expectant mothers and their babies.

Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and birth, who have successfully completed a midwifery education program that is duly recognized in the country where it is located and that is based on the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice and the framework of the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education.

A midwife’s role is to look after pregnant women throughout the pregnancy, during labour and after delivery.

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HMC Encourages Asthma Patients to Take Control of Their Condition on the Occasion of World Asthma Day

Doha, 5 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) yesterday joined the international community to observe World Asthma Day, organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world.

World Asthma Day takes place each year on the first Tuesday in May. The main aim of the annual event is to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. The theme for the year will continue to be "You Can Control Your Asthma".  GINA will also continue to use the sub-theme, "It's Time to Control Asthma."

Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and is one of the most common long-term diseases in children. Adults can also have asthma, which causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning.

“It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under the age of five. However, checking how well the lungs work and checking for allergies can help in diagnosing or ruling out asthma,” said Dr. Hisham Abdulsattar, Chief of Pulmonary/Allergy Division at HMC’s Department of Medicine.

Every year, up to 5000 patients with asthma visit the Chest Clinic for treatment and follow up appointments.

He noted that a breathing test, called spirometry, can also be done to find out how well the lungs are working. “We usually use a computer with a mouthpiece to test how much air a patient with asthma can breathe out after taking a very deep breath. The spirometer can measure airflow before and after a patient uses asthma medicine,” Dr. Abdulsattar said.

He explained that if someone has asthma, they have it all the time, but they will have asthma attacks only when something irritates their lungs. “An asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. Asthma attacks happen in the body’s airways, which are the paths that carry air to the lungs. As the air moves through the lungs, the airways become smaller, like the branches of a tree are smaller than the tree trunk. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in the lungs swell and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of the lungs, and mucous that the body makes clogs up the airways.”

Dr. Abdulsattar said that an asthma attack can happen when a patient is exposed to asthma triggers such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergens, pets, mold, and smoke from burning wood or grass.

“Infections linked to influenza (flu), colds, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV – a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages) can trigger an asthma attack. As can sinus infections, allergies, breathing in chemicals, and acid reflux. Some medicines, bad weather - such as thunderstorms or high humidity, breathing in cold and dry air, and some foods, food additives, and fragrances can also trigger an asthma attack,” Dr. Abdulsattar explained.

He noted that physical exercise can trigger attacks too, although exercise also has positive health benefits and therefore people with asthma should take the precaution of seeking medical advice before starting an activity/exercise program. “Both children and adults with asthma should also carry the appropriate medication with them and have it close by when exercising, he added.

He also noted that strong emotions can lead to very fast breathing, which is known as hyperventilation, and can also cause an asthma attack.

Dr. Abdulsattar urged asthma patients to control their asthma and avoid an attack by taking their medicine as prescribed by their doctor and by staying away from things that can trigger an attack or by making informed decisions about exercise.

Dr. Abdulsattar pointed out that asthma patients do not use the same medications and that individual patients can have different asthma medication. “Some medicines can be breathed in, and some can be taken as a pill. Asthma medicines come in two types - quick-relief and long-term control. Quick-relief medicines control the symptoms of an asthma attack. If a patient needs to use quick-relief medicines more and more, they should visit their doctor to see if they need a different medicine. Long-term control medicines help patients have fewer and milder attacks, but they don’t help them while having an asthma attack.”

He added that asthma medicines can have side effects, but most side effects are mild and soon go away. Patients are encouraged to ask their doctor about the side effects of their medicines.

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Hamad Medical Corporation

HMC Joins Global Effort to Promote Culture of Safety at Work

Doha, 3 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) joined organizations across the globe to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work (WDSHW) on 28 April 2015 in an effort to encourage individuals to adopt safe working practices and promote a culture of safety within the workplace.

The WDSHW is an annual awareness-raising global campaign organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to remind governments, organizations, and workers about the importance of preventing occupational accidents and illnesses.

Executive Director of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Department at HMC, Dr. Huda Al-Naemi, commented: “Every organization has a moral, legal, and social responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its workers. Organizational practices that promote safety can help create an effective and efficient working environment. In order to create a culture of safety, individuals at all levels must actively take ownership for understanding their roles and responsibilities and assign the highest priority to averting potential hazards not just to themselves but also to those around them.”

Dr. Al-Naemi added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to shed light on the latest trends in occupational health and safety and apply widely known best practices to prevent any potential work-related injuries and infections.”

Safety Instructor and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Coordinator at OHS, Engineer Omar De Castro, highlighted that some of the best ways to enable a safer working environment and eliminate any kind of risks include briefing workers on OHS issues such as the proper usage of protective equipment, creating awareness about the different kinds of potential hazards, providing protective gear and promotional materials, and offering incentives to those who are able to achieve safety goals.

“OHS at HMC plays a great role in creating a culture of prevention. The department provides new staff with a full orientation about health and safety at work. Training focuses on risk assessment, fire safety and management of hazardous materials. There are also mandatory annual re-orientation classroom sessions which are available online. Protecting our staff from over exposure to radiation within HMC facilities is also one of our major OHS initiatives,” Engr. De Castro stated.

He further explained that OHS staff regularly participate in monthly multi-disciplinary environmental rounds together with other department representatives to evaluate hazards and the probability of their occurrence within a particular area. They then work together to determine the appropriate controls required to minimize any potential risks identified.

Since new developments, innovations, ways of working, materials, and industries are constantly developing worldwide, Dr. Al-Naemi stressed that individuals should engage in education and research and take part in local and international OHS conferences to learn about new developments in health and safety standards.

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HMC Holds Health Exhibition at Um Hakeem Independent Secondary School

Doha, 3 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently organized a health exhibition at Um Hakeem Independent Secondary School for Girls as part of its continued efforts to share health education knowledge with students in Qatar.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Ms. Maryam Al Shahwany, Principal and Owner of the School License, and Ms. Balqees Al Khazraji, HMC’s Director of Health Professions Awareness and Volunteering Programs. 

Ms. Al Khazraji highlighted the importance of organizing health exhibitions at schools to build strong relationships between public institutions and students, as well as helping foster a culture of engagement in social responsibility and encourage volunteer activities amongst students.
According to Ms. Al Khazraji, holding exhibitions to educate students about health issues helps ensure a healthier future for future generations. “By organizing this exhibition, HMC is aiming to help the next generation of students enjoy better social, physical and psychological health. It also demonstrates our commitment to serve our community by providing health awareness and educational activities that will enable community members to make healthy lifestyle choices and adopt preventive practices to protect themselves from different types of diseases and injuries,” Ms. Al Khazraji said.
Ms. Al Khazraji added that the exhibition also served as a platform for students to discover new opportunities about local and overseas educational scholarships and sponsorships within HMC. Participants were also able to learn more about HMC’s recruitment process and job opportunities in the healthcare sector. They were also able to obtain information about several local organizations providing volunteer activities and training opportunities. 
Ms. Al Shahwany said the event provided a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about the most needed specialties in Qatar’s healthcare sector, adding that the students were also informed about the need to enhance their skills and academic qualifications, as well as choose academic and career programs that best suit their occupational interests.

She praised the collaboration between HMC’s management and her school while thanking the corporation’s representatives for their efforts in organizing the exhibition and their continued support toward the school. 

The exhibition was attended by representatives of different hospitals and departments within HMC including Al Wakra Hospital and Heart Hospital, the Health Professions Awareness and Volunteering Programs, Medical Education Department, Ambulance Service, Home Healthcare Service, Audiometry Unit at Women’s Hospital and the departments of Dentistry, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Dietetics, Pharmacy and Surgery, as well as representatives from the Smoking Cessation Clinic, Fahad Bin Jassim Kidney Center, Hamad International Training Center, Blood Donation Center, Special Education Center and Qatar Organ Donation Center.  

The exhibition also involved participation from several local universities and educational entities such as the University of Calgary in Qatar, the Supreme Education Council’s Higher Education Institute, as well as Qatar University, represented by College of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and the Admission Office.

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HMC Symposium Focuses on Home Parenteral Nutrition for Children

Doha, 2 May, 2015: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently hosted a symposium, the first of its kind in the region, bringing together distinguished experts from the UK, the United States and Qatar, to discuss international best practices and advances in community-based care.

Organized by the Pediatric Department at Hamad General Hospital (HGH), the event convened approximately 300 attendees, comprising of physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals and highlighted the latest advances and updates in the field of Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN). It featured state-of-the-art lectures and presentations from local and international speakers covering the spectrum of services in HPN and emphasizing the role of interdisciplinary collaboration among healthcare professionals in promoting successful outcomes. 

Parenteral nutrition is a special life-saving approach used to provide intravenous nutrition to individuals whose digestive systems are unable to absorb, or tolerate, adequate food eaten by mouth. Once the child is stable and no longer needs hospitalization, the recommendation is to provide parenteral nutrition at home by the HPN service. HPN involves training the families and caregivers to administer this form of nutrition using portable pumps.

Dr. Kamal Osman Hassan, head of the pediatric gastroenterology (GI) section at HGH and the chief organizer of the conference, highlighted: “HPN is generally provided by private homecare companies. Since there were no such companies available in Qatar and the region, an innovative approach was developed by HMC in 2011 and was fully implemented last year. It is the first pediatric homecare service to be introduced in the Gulf region. Under the program, long-term pediatric patients receiving intravenous nutrition at the hospital are transferred to their homes once their parents and caregivers are adequately trained and educated about how to use the specialized feeding equipment.”

“Highly-specialized nurses from HMC’s Home Healthcare Service conduct regular visits to patients’ homes and provide round-the-clock assistance through a telephone helpline in order to ensure safe use of the equipment and to provide any additional medical assistance and support required by families,” he added.

Commenting on the significance of the conference, Dr. Hassan stated: “This conference stemmed from our ambition to provide the best possible care to the patients and families benefiting from the HPN program. It served as a platform for international and local healthcare professionals working in this area to discuss international best practices and advances in community-based care, with the ultimate aim to improve the quality of life for patients.”

According to Dr. Hassan, the HPN service focuses on creating a positive experience for the young children receiving this special nutrition as it diminishes many of the negative impacts of prolonged hospital stays, such as depression, anxiety, and delayed development.

One of the parents availing of the HPN service, Mrs. Taghrid Yousif, mother of two-year-old Maab, commended the program. “I am very thankful to HMC for all the support that they have extended to my daughter and our family under this service. We are now able to enjoy more quality time together since Maab doesn’t need to stay under the supervision of the doctors around-the-clock. Nurses from HMC come to our home every week and monitor Maab’s condition by performing the necessary tests. It is really comforting to have this kind of ongoing support,” she stated. 

The conference concluded with gifts of appreciation being presented to HPN patients, and their families, for their hard work and commitment in working together with the HPN program staff at HMC.

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