Her Excellency (H.E.) Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari has said that Qatar's response to COVID-19 helped curb the pandemic in the country.
Speaking at the opening session of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2020, HE the Minister said that a key factor in Qatar's success is its system of universal health coverage, pointing out that all costs of treatment were covered by the government, irrespective of nationality or social conditions, and that all patients received the same high standard of care.
At the conference held under the theme of 'One World, Our Health', HE the Minister said:
"Every death is a tragedy, but we are thankful that our cases, in global terms, remain low. This stands as testimony to the talent and commitment of our doctors and nurses and the entire healthcare workforce. This is also testament of our healthcare system."
Her Excellency added that low mortality in Qatar is attributable to a variety of factors, including the young average age of the population, but particularly to the high quality of medical care, provided equally to everyone.
H.E. Dr. Al Kuwari said:
"Throughout we strived to keep our healthcare workforce safe and protected and our hospital-acquired infections as close to zero as possible."
Highlighting the support Qatar has extended to other countries in the battle against COVID-19, she added
"We know we will win this battle only if everyone wins it. In solidarity, Qatar has so far helped more than 70 countries and international organizations with equipment and resources."
The Minister also noted that COVID-19 is not beaten yet:
"Our strategy remains one of vigilance and focused action tempered by a controlled return to normality, while keeping our people safe. We await, with the rest of the world, the development of a safe, effective vaccine. In the meantime, we must rely on the public health measures with which we are all familiar and the dedication and professionalism of the global health workforce to keep us safe."
For his part, Executive chair of WISH, Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham said that the Coronavirus may have prevented the WISH participants from meeting in person in Doha, but it did not stop the conference's activities, pointing out that the epidemic has revealed, in many ways, the best of us.
He pointed out that the pandemic has taught us that there can be no security without health security. He believed that the time has come to build a global shield against disease-causing agents to protect us from new diseases ... and that the only way to have a new global capacity for the rapid development of diagnoses, treatments and vaccines is through greater international cooperation. This is exactly what this conference is about, he said.
For his part, Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a message to the conference participants in which he stressed the importance of harnessing the power of innovation in facing a crisis that occurs only once in a century, which is this pandemic.
As part of the opening ceremony, news presenter Michel Hussein moderated a high-level panel discussion titled 'Global Response to COVID-19', addressed by leaders at the national and international levels, including Special Envoy on COVID-19 Dr. David Nabarro, Professor Dame Sally Davies, former chief medical officer in England, and Dr. Anders Tegnell, an epidemiologist in Sweden.
It is expected that a record number of policymakers, health experts, and front-line healthcare workers will participate in the conference, where a wide range of sessions will be held to discuss a number of vital topics, including COVID-19, and the impact of climate change on health and immunotherapy.
Cover image credit: WISH Qatar Twitter
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