A specialised temporary de-addiction centre is set to open here in the next few months as part of Qatar’s public health care programmes, according to an expert. Bringing in some 120 international experts, the Fourth Annual Middle East Health Care Expansion Summit opened here yesterday. The two-day event offers an effective platform for sharing health care experiences and networking opportunities with the key decision makers within the health care industry.
“The works on Addiction Centre is progressing and will be operational in few months from now. We have started recruiting bi-lingual experts for the project,” said Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of Department of Public Health, Supreme Council of Health (SCH).
“Initially we will be opening at a temporary facility in Al Rayyan area, as the designs of the permanent facility is near completions. The new facility will be bigger and can cater to some 200 addiction cases. At the present situation, Qatar does not need that much capacity in an addiction centre, but this is designed taking the future needs into consideration. The centre will have one of the highest level best practices in de-addiction,” he told the media at the sideline of the summit.
Insufficient control of the addiction is one of the major challenges that the country faces.
“The centre will cater to all kinds of addictions including alcohol and drug, even though drug addiction is not a big problem here. In future we also plan to have units for other types of addictions such as Internet, gambling and food (addiction to special kind of food) among the others.”
Among the various future initiative, Qatar will have a new tobacco cessation law that will be “more seriousness and effective controlling tobacco usage, especially in tackling smoking among those under-18 years of age and smoking in restricted places. Also before next August, we will have finalised on graphic/pictorial warnings on cigarette packs,” he said.
Decline in mortality and injury rates due to toad-traffic accidents has been one of Qatar’s major achievements. Death rate has been reduced from 26 per 100,000 people in 2006 to 13 in 2010, while severe injuries have been reduced from 75 per 100,000 to 32 per 100,000 between 2001 and 2010. Also mild injury rate has declined from 262 per 100,000 in 2008 to 234 per 100,000, last year.
SCH will also establish specialised laboratories within three years focusing on drugs, environment health, public health and food safety, all according to latest international standards. “We will soon be upgrading the capacity of the Food Safety Lab where all chemical, physical and microbiological food analyses are conducted. We are also fostering cooperation and coordination with counterparts and international organisations, and continuously update of food specifications to meet international standards,” he said.
To control Non-Communicable and Communicable diseases, SCH plans to upgrade and automate the surveillance of these diseases. Qatar has so far achieved 95 percent vaccination coverage for all antigens. “No endogenous malaria cases have been reported in Qatar in the last 30 years and last case of polio in Qatar was reported in 1990. We have applied Early Warning Indicator System for detection of emerging and re-emerging diseases and upgraded the surveillance system for reporting of communicable diseases.”
SCH aims to establish a well-defined research plan with the ultimate goal to develop best practices in Public Health. Various health surveys are on being planned along with situation analysis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, diabetes type I, implementation of the Environmental Health Impact Assessment Project and formulation of new committees for diabetes, cardio vascular diseases and occupational health.
“Public awareness regarding prevention and control of different public health problems are major challenges and needs to be upgraded. There is high prevalence of chronic diseases and their risk factors as cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity. Also we have risk air pollution in due to active gas and oil projects,” Dr Al Thani said at the summit.
The health care event features a two-day educational session with case studies, presentations and interactive sessions combined with a healthcare-specific exhibition. Various health initiatives in Qatar, UAE, Oman, Turkey and Palestine are being highlighted at the event. “SCH has developed a very ambitious programme, under the NHS 2011-2016, promising to enhance the wellness of the people here by achieving significant milestones in the coming years,” said Dr Salih Ali Al Marri, Assistant Secretary General for Medical Affairs, inaugurating the event.
“We face many challenges and the task may not be easy but we are determined to achieve our goals. The main challenges facing Qatar today, and may be through out the region, are prevention and lifestyle changes. Injuries, mapping of diseases, sedentary life style, smoking, unhealthy diet are some of the bigger challenges. To overcome these challenges and attain quality of life we need to work together with public and private sectors,” he said.
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