AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

Qatar 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Sidra Medicine has invested across the spectrum of maternity and gynecology-related care concerns in a bid to encourage women to be active participants in their health.

Dr. Abdulla Al Kaabi
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Abdulla Al Kaabi is a member of the board, Executive Chair of the Children’s Services Clinical Management Group, and Executive Vice Chief Medical Officer at Sidra Medicine. He is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Weill Cornel Medical College in Qatar. Since joining Sidra in 2013, Dr. Al Kaabi has held several key positions, such as Member of the Office of the CEO and Acting CMO. Under his leadership, Sidra witnessed the opening of the outpatient clinic and the opening plan for the phasing-in of inpatient services.

Sidra Medicine launched Qatar's first maternity-based app—10 Moons. How has it been received by users?

The feedback and take-up of the app has been positive, helping pregnant women to follow up on their pregnancy records and progress. What makes our app particularly different is that it is bilingual and its concept, content, and development were all developed in-house. Our women's services model of care is based on a private medical practice model, where the patient is the center of the care she receives at Sidra Medicine. Her journey starts with being given choices regarding her care provider or team as well as the amount of intervention she desires. Our women's services and the support we provide is not only related to maternity issues—we want young women to be active participants in their health, and that starts by feeling assured that as a healthcare provider, Sidra Medicine has invested across the spectrum of maternity and gynecology-related care concerns.

Sidra Medicine has been a major player of the Qatar Genome Program since the beginning. How have these phases performed?

This has been a flagship program, and has worked extremely well for us. We have met all our target numbers for gene sequencing and every deadline. We have sequenced 12,000 genomes so far, and the number continues to increase, constituting a growing source of data for scientists at Sidra Medicine and at other research institutes for use in research studies. The amount of data currently being captured in this country is immense and requires enormous data storage capacity and extremely high-powered computing and analytics, which we have developed at Sidra Medicine.

How will the hospital expand in 2019?

We have introduced the complex surgery of separating twins, robotic surgery for both women and children, and many other programs. Being a pediatrician who has been in this system for a while and knowing what other children hospitals have outside of the country, we provide almost all the specialist healthcare services that children might need. We will launch a trauma unit at our Children's Emergency Department and add kidney and bone marrow transplants to our list of services. In addition to accepting self-referrals for women's services, 2018 saw the launch of several key women's services, including the opening of our Women's Emergency, an obstetrics triage and urgent care center. We also expanded our perinatal mental healthcare services by accepting self-referrals. The service provides treatment and care to women, their infants, and their families during the perinatal period, which starts from the time a couple plans their pregnancy to the pregnancy and the first year of the baby's life. We also plan to launch IVF services soon. We have developed the medical tourism aspect and have an excellent relationship with Kuwait from where we receive patients. Because of our world-class expertise in cardiology, urology, neurology, cranial, facial, and plastics, we see interest from regional and neighboring countries. There is reverse tourism as well, as patients who formerly traveled abroad now see a local option. Our priority programs are genetics, maternal fetal medicine, and metabolic diseases, including diabetes. We intend to expand our translational research as we develop our clinical services, for example in areas such as cardiac sciences, pulmonary medicine and immunology. The entire genomic aspect has tremendous importance and is being done within the framework of the Qatar Genome Program. We want to encourage further clinical research. Research that delivers immediate benefits for our patients takes us further toward personalized medicine and produces new discoveries for clinicians and scientists across the world.