DOCTOR KNOWS BEST

Qatar 2015 | HEALTH & SPORTS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), on expansion plans, foreign partners, and preventative care.

Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari is the Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the main public healthcare provider in Qatar. In addition to this role, she holds other numerous positions including Member of the Sidra Executive Committee, Member of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Member of the Board of Governors for the Doha Institute for Family Studies, Chairperson of the Qatar Biobank Board, and Member of the JCI Middle East Advisory Council. She holds a PhD in Healthcare Management from the Center of Public Policy and Evaluation, Department of Government, at Brunel University in the UK and has interest in health system research. Dr. Al Kuwari received the prestigious Outstanding Arab Ladies in the Healthcare Industry Award from the Arab Hospitals Federation (AHF) in 2011.

The rapid development of Qatar is putting pressure on the country's healthcare system. What are the current expansion plans of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to face that challenge?

HMC is in the early stages of planning and delivery one of the most ambitious hospital building programs anywhere in the world. This initiative, which was approved in 2014, will see HMC unite its current Hamad General Hospital and Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City (HBKMC) campuses to create a comprehensive, patient-centered healing environment. The expanded HBKMC will be a world-class health facility for the people of Qatar. Designed to be an urban health, research, and education district, it will incorporate new facilities currently under construction, combined with the development, renovation, and expansion of existing facilities and services. HBKMC will be the largest single healthcare complex in the Middle East. The development of tertiary services in central Doha is based on a new way of delivering care in the safest, most effective, and most compassionate manner. Already under construction are a rehabilitation institute, a new tertiary hospital for women, an ambulatory hospital, and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Translational Research Institute. We are also building a new communicable disease hospital, which will be the first of its kind in the region. There will also be a specialist cancer center and a school for clinical sciences, and acting as the hub for all tertiary services in Qatar, a new 1,100-bed Tertiary Hospital. The combination of specialist hospital and research facilities will support the development of HMC's academic health system. These ambitious plans will not just serve the existing needs of Qatar's population; HMC's vision is to deliver the next generation of healthcare facilities and build a legacy of healthcare expertise across Qatar.

In which areas of these healthcare services are you inviting foreign partners and professionals to come into Qatar and contribute?

HMC is committed to developing partnerships with leading local and international organizations in the fields of health, research, and education. Through these partnerships, HMC is continuously seeking to advance clinical expertise, transform the delivery of its services, and bring in innovative solutions. We have many ongoing partnerships with international accreditation bodies, agencies, and health providers. For example, we have been working together with Canada's SickKids International since 2010 to develop pediatric healthcare in Qatar. Another great example is our collaboration with Partners HealthCare from Boston, US. We have been working with them on transforming the Women's Hospital into the leading hospital in the region for obstetric and gynecological healthcare.

How does HMC try to educate the populace in order to prevent them from getting ill?

Qatar has undergone a rapid period of economic growth over the last 20 years that has led to a large increase and diversification in the population, rapid urbanization, and a higher standard of living. These changes have had a major impact on lifestyle, contributing to the rising burden of non-communicable diseases. The National Health Strategy identifies preventive healthcare as a major goal in improving the health of the population and recognizes the need to shift focus away from a purely curative healthcare system to one that is effective in preventing disease. The nature of lifestyle-related diseases means that not only the health sector, but also a wide spectrum of governmental and non-governmental agencies need to work together to nurture an environment that empowers people to make healthier choices.