Aswan Heart Center (AHC) in Egypt, developed under Magdi Yacoub Research Institute (MYRN) is set to have an imaging center named after the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The Hamad bin Khalifa Imaging Center, partially funded by Qatar Foundation is all set to be inaugurated by H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
MYRN, formerly Qatar-Aswan-London (QAL) Advanced Cardiovascular Institute, was founded in 2008, following a consultation with Sheikha Moza, and a signing of a Heads of Agreement between Sir (Dr) Magdi Yacoub and Qatar Foundation. AHC was established with the aim of improving the healthcare of the heart and providing advanced cardiac surgeries in the less supported regions of Egypt.
“The state-of-the-art imaging center, which Sheikha Moza will inaugurate, has all the modalities, instruments and equipments dedicated to produce images of heart and the vascular system, including an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT)scanning dedicated just for examining the heart,” Sir Yacoub told The Peninsula.
Heart and vascular illnesses is the number one killer in the world and some 23 million people died of cardiovascular diseases and Non-communicable diseases in 2006. Atleast, 75 percent of all these deaths were in low and middle income countries.
“There is a need to strengthen policy and practices in the region to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of heart diseases. The MRI facility will allow us to look at the hearts of children, babies and adults, and on all the vessels. Not only will the structure of these organs can be checked but their function as to if they are normal or diseased and how they are composed can be noted. This is highly important as it can help make the most sophisticated operations that we perform at AHC more accurate, more productive, and safer, and we can also research on changes that happen in the body to the deepest level.”
“The multi (128) Slice CT scanner, which is one of the most advanced, will also help in better visualisation of organs and help in treatment and researches. We have programmes of research in collaboration with Qatar, both in children and adults, so these will improve our practices and research,” he said.
AHC provides services for all regardless of their colour, creed or religion, giving paramount respect for humanity. The most complex and sophisticated operations are done for free, as a charity, on the most deserving people particularly the poor and children.
It also focuses on training the future generation of young doctors, scientists, technicians and nurses, with group of experts from all over the world, to look after the patients. This helps in sustaining the project for long and provide for the community.
“One of our major objectives is research. Today research is no longer a luxury; it is necessity to be a centre of excellence at highest level. We have research programmes starting from the community, as we have huge burden of heart diseases. Then it progresses on to translational research that will help improve patient care and outcomes, and helps audit how good the researches are. Then we are also having researches at the basic level were we study molecules and genes,” he said.
“Continuum of research is important so as to produce scientist from the region who can talk about what is happening here and contribute to world science as the Arab world had done in the past. Our visions and that of the leaders of Qatar are hence the same; we have been inspired by what is happening in the country.”
MYRN is collaborating with Qatar Foundation to develpe Qatar Heart Research Center (QHRC), a research facility and programme intended both to assist with heart and vascular disease priority of Qatar and become a network hub for the MENA region.
“We are working with doctors from Hamad Medical Corporation in clinics and looking at research programmes- mainly translational and basic science researches as in AHC. We have both Qataris and Non-Qataris who are starting researches here and we are starting laboratories while clinical researches are going on. Qatar’s researches might be young, but most advanced researches have been planned, and have already started with data base creation and collaborative researches.”
“Also we are happy to see the facilities at Sidra Medical and Research Center which will be long-term base for these researches that will benefit Qatar and the humanity. QHRC is part of a higher vision to have a Qatar Biomedical Research Institute,” Sir Yacoub said.
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