Managing Director, Shafallah Medical Genetics Center (SMGC)
Medical Director, American Hospital
HATEM EL SHANTI We are one of four centers under the Shafallah Center Foundation. In terms of our scope and focus, we offer several components: service, research, training, and education. We cover the full spectrum from diagnosis of medical diseases to research, where we try to discover the unknown genetic causes behind childhood disabilities. Our education component has two arms. One is for the public, in initiatives such as lectures to support groups and awareness campaigns. The second arm comprises educating healthcare professionals on the role of genetics in health and disease. We also provide programs to train technical laboratory staff.
EL-SAKHLI KHALIL As one of the four existing private hospitals, the American Hospital is well placed within the health sector. We have already begun the international accreditation program, which is now mandatory by royal decree, and hopefully within one year we will have achieved our objective, and be officially operating on internationally recognized standards. We have also begun the construction of a new hospital with 200 beds that will be ready by 2016. This will serve northern Qatar, which is currently lacking medical facilities. That facility will be accredited from the outset, and will hence meet strict stipulated standards.
HES Regarding research, the idea was that we would create a cohesive group to collaborate with other institutions in the country. We currently have extensive collaborations beyond the country, both regionally and further afield. By having this outward and inward collaboration, we get to create a research culture with an international flavor. We are looking forward to the development of Sidra, and are working closely with its staff and newly appointed Chief Research Officer. We are providing a helping hand with its development and contribution to the national research culture. We also play a significant role in the Qatar National Research Strategy, initiated in early 2012. The Qatar Foundation spearheaded this by orchestrating research efforts in the fields of health, the environment, and computing. We are one of eight groups that participate in this manner, by actively presenting our experiences, offering contributions, and giving advice. Many excellent ideas arise in Qatar, and growth is taking place on the back of research. However, not all of this is fully coordinated, which is what we endeavor to address.
ESK We proposed to the government that our new hospital become a center for tackling certain disease types of visiting patients, and are awaiting a decision on this. In any case, Qatar currently only has the resources to serve the internal market, but could perhaps subsequently expand its offers. The state-of-the-art research center at Sidra could be said to be the first step in making Qatar into a health tourism destination, as Sidra is marketed toward other Arab countries, although essentially it is still too early to say. My vision is to have three hospitals in the group, and possibly smaller clinics in underserved areas. There is also a law in Qatar that states that if you have a company of more than 500 workers it must be furnished with a clinic and attendant nurse. We already have seven clinics serving companies. We will have to see how this all progresses as the country continues to develop.
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