May 2012

Public Sector Health Professionals Mark World No Tobacco Day with Awareness Campaign, 31 May 2012

To mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), which is organized each year by the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative on 31 May, public sector health professionals in Qatar engage in activities to encourage people to stop using harmful tobacco products.
Extensive research has proven that regular tobacco use commonly leads to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).
This year, health professionals from Supreme Council of Health (SCH), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), increase their efforts to persuade people to quit smoking by warning about the dangers of not just cigarette but also shisha smoking as well as chewing “sweeka” (a type of local chewing tobacco used by many young people).
Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of the Smoking Cessation Clinic at HMC, said “Studies have shown that tobacco is a leading cause of preventable death globally and the effects of tobacco related illnesses place a great burden on healthcare services.”
Some less known facts about the harmful effects of nicotine include that male smokers are more likely to suffer from impotence compared to non-smokers. Nicotine is also a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and contributes to other threats to the health of the fetus such as premature births and low birth weight.
When tobacco is smoked, the nicotine (which is a highly addictive psychoactive drug) in the tobacco causes physical dependency; which makes it more difficult for many smokers to quit the habit. The Smoking Cessation Clinic has developed many programs to provide support and counseling for patients who wish to give up smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy using nicotine patches is one of several other options offered to patients.
“At the Smoking Cessation Clinic at HMC, we receive many patients who came to us for help in dealing with their nicotine addiction. We focus not only on cigarettes but also on other ways of using tobacco that are prevalent in the Middle East, such as Shisha. Smoking shisha leads to more nicotine intake in the body and typically smoking one shisha is equated with smoking one pack of cigarettes, so it is important for us to deal with this issue,” added Dr Al Mulla.
Staff from the smoking cessation clinic at Hamad General Hospital advice visitors about how to stop smoking; CO level will be measured. Visitors are also able to get their blood pressure, blood sugar, height and weight checked while seeking advice from health professionals.
As part of its social responsibility mandate, the Smoking Cessation Clinic at HMC also conducts informative talks on a regular basis in schools and to employees of companies.

Source: Corporate Communication Department

Lusail Ambulance Standby Station Officially Opens, 22 May 2012

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Lusail Real Estate Development Company have officially opened Lusail Citys very own fully-equipped ambulance standby station in an inauguration ceremony on 16 May. The new station is a collaborative effort of HMC and Lusail.
The new station contributes a lot to the enhancement of our services around the Lusail area and neighboring districts north of Doha and along the north coastal road, said Brendon Morris, Assistant Executive Director of HMCs Ambulance Service. We are implementing a new navigation system for the new batch of ambulance cars, and it would not be possible without redistributing ambulance standby stations in Qatar. Lusails initiative has helped us do that, as more than 22 ambulance standby stations are now distributed around the country.

Thanks to the strict safety rules in place at Lusail, it is not often that an ambulance is called out here, despite the massive construction taking place, Morris added. He conveyed HMCs appreciation for the efforts of Lusail to help protect the lives of residents and promote their well-being.

The purpose of this station is not only to protect those in Lusail but to help HMC reduce its response time to reports of accidents by redistributing standby stations so that a greater area of Doha is covered in a minimal time span, said Engr. Essa Mohammed Ali Kaldari, CEO of Lusail Real Estate Development Company .

Also present at the inauguration were Engr. Salem Rashid Al Kuwari, Director of Health, Safety, Security and Environment at Lusail Real Estate Development Company; Khalid Shaheen, Operations Manager for Special Events and Public Relations at HMCs Ambulance Service; Ali Darwish and Mohamed Shakir, Operations Managers at the Ambulance Service; Omar Al Khamiri, Senior Supervisor and Fathi Adlan, Facility Director at the Ambulance Service.

Lusail and Qatari Diar have collaborated in restoring the building that would house the Ambulance Service, and in preparing an easy-access road.

Source: Corporate Communication Department

Qatar’s Maternal Mortality Rates at Par with Western World, 19 May 2012

A major national study on maternal and neonatal health reveals maternal mortality rates (MMRs) in Qatar are at par with those in the Western world.

About 20,300 deliveries took place in Qatar during 2011, according to the annual report of the Perinatal Neonatal Outcomes Research Study in the Arabian Gulf (PEARL Study), a three-year research project being led by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). Most or 16,781 of the births took place at Women’s Hospital (a member hospital of HMC).

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HMC Psychiatry Department Holds Public Lecture On Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

As part of the educational activities organized by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Psychiatry Department, a public lecture on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is being held on Wednesday, 23 May, 2012 (from 06:00 pm to 07:00 pm). The lecture will be delivered by Dr. Hazem Hashem, senior consultant psychiatrist at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), in the Psychiatry Department (located opposite The Center and Mega Mart and next to the Kahramaa office).

OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). The lecture explains the symptoms of OCD, their effect on patients, their families and friends, as well as various treatment practices and latest updates in the field.
“About 2% of world population suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This rate may increase in Arab communities due to social and religious restrictions. Symptoms and signs of this disease normally appear at the end of the adolescence stage and can progress with age. OCD patients comprise about 10% of the total visitors of psychiatry clinics” said Dr. Hazem Hashem.

“OCD is often a very debilitating disease as individuals who experience uncontrollable obsessions can spend a lot of their time trying to rectify their compulsions which causes more anxiety” explained Dr. Hazem, adding: “Most OCD patients feel that they are alone in dealing with their problem and do not consider seeking treatment; they continue to suffer from the disease for five years or even more before consulting a psychiatrist. However, statistics show that 70% of patients who seek treatment can expect to make a complete recovery”.
Dr. Hazem will respond to questions from attendees and members of staff will be able to provide information to the visiting public in different languages.

HMC’s Psychiatry Department offers these lectures as part of its mandate to offer public education on different mental health illnesses and treatment options.

HMC Receives Support of Official Sponsors for Annual Blood Donor Recognition Ceremony, 15 May 2012

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently announced the names of official sponsors for this year’s Blood Donor Recognition Ceremony, which will be held on Thursday, 14 June 2012 under the theme “Every blood donor is a hero”.

HMC’s Corporate Communications Department and Blood Donor Center held a press conference on 10 May at Hamad Medical City, where Mohamad Mubarak Al Noimi, Executive Director of Corporate Communications received the financial support checks from the official sponsors of the event.

The official sponsors of the event are four Platinum sponsors, each contributing QR 100,000, and two Gold sponsors, each contributing QR 50,000. The Platinum sponsors of the ceremony are Commercial Bank, whose check was handed over by Khalifa Al Rayes, Senior Assistant General Manager; Qatar Steel Company, represented by Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Ansari, Commercial Division Manager; QatarGas, represented by Mansour Rashid Al-Naimi, Qatargas Public Relations Manager; and Regency Group Holding, represented by Abdulla Abdul-Aziz Al-Ansari, Deputy Chairman of the Group.

The two Gold sponsors are Qatar Chemical Company, whose check was handed over by Naser Abdul-Rahman Al-Noaimi, Manager of Public Relations; and Al-Muftah Group, represented by Samir Basma, Commercial Division Manager.

On behalf of HMC, Mr. Al-Noimi expressed gratitude and appreciation for the valuable support of the sponsoring companies and for the enormous efforts they exerted towards the successful celebration of World Blood Donor Day (WBDD), which he said shows the strong continuing partnership between HMC and public and private organizations in the country.

The event was also attended by Sidiqa Al-Mahmoud, Coordinator of Blood Donor Affairs at HMC’s Blood Donor Center; Dr. Zaid Mernicov, Director of the Blood Transfusion Unit at HMC; and Mahir Anees from HMC’s Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Department. Abdul-Aziz Al-Saed moderated the press conference.

HMC Holds Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Course for Arab Board Trainees in the Gulf

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) held recently the fifth Qatari Course for Arab Board Trainees in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (ORL-HNS). The course was aimed at training ORL-HNS professionals who are preparing for the Arab Board examination, and besides candidates from Qatar, also drew participants from Bahrain, Iraq, Sudan and other Gulf countries.

“Since 1998 we have had about ten doctors who have passed the Arab Board examination,” said Dr Abdul Salam Al Qahtani, Head and Program Director, ORL-HNS (ENT) Section at HMC. Dr Al Qahtani was also one of the first to pass the Arab Board in the Middle East. “This year we have about ten participants in the course. Each year we should graduate two or three residents, who will then take the Arab Board. After they pass the exam they will be certified by the Arab Board and can work as a specialist anywhere in the world.”

“For the present course we invited three lecturers who are also Arab Board examiners. This gives an excellent opportunity for our residents to be able to learn how to answer questions in the examination,” said Dr Aisha Larem, Assistant Program Director and Consultant, ORL-HNS (ENT) Section. “The lecturers include Prof. Salah Mansour who is the Chairman of the ORL-HNS Arab Board, Lebanon; Prof. Ismail Zohdi, professor of ORL-HNS and Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University; and Prof. Jamal Ben Amer, professor of ORL and Faculty of Medicine at Garyounis University in Libya.”

The Arab Board of Medical Specializations was founded by the Council of Arab Health Ministers in Kuwait in 1978. It aims to improve health services in the Arab world by raising the level of scientific and practical knowledge in various disciplines, establishing a certification procedure for each medical specialty, and organizing teaching and training sessions for the resident physicians in conjunction with teaching institutions in the Arab world.

“In the last five years, the majority of our examiners have passed,” said Dr Shanmugam Ganesan, Head of Rhinology and Associate Program Director, ORL-HNS (ENT) Section. “Passing the exam is also one of the criteria to become a specialist at HMC.”

“We try to make the course beneficial for all the candidates and help them gain both basic and advanced knowledge,” said Dr Al Qahtani. “During the five years of offering this course, we have continuously developed it according to our residents’ training needs, and have focused on certain subjects to improve their knowledge and surgical skills. We see it as one of the best training courses because we are familiarizing the participants with a real examination situation. The type of lectures is also changing and the interactive session is improved.”

The ENT Section is one the biggest departments at HMC. It examines between 23,000-27,000 patients per year and conducts 2,300-2,500 surgical procedures per year. “This is a good number to train residents as they get exposed to a lot of cases and have a good range of materials for education,” Dr Al Qahtani explained.

“We are now in a transition period in regard to our criteria for education as we are aiming to be accredited by the prestigious Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International LLC (ACGME-I). We are implementing certain strategies and guidelines for medical education to achieve this,” Dr Al Qahtani added.

HMC Holds Second Middle East Metabolic Dieticians Workshop, 06 May 2012

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) recently held the two-day Second Middle East Metabolic Dieticians Workshop aimed at giving the latest updates on metabolic diseases and nutritional services for people with metabolic disorders. The event was conducted at Hajar Auditorium and drew about 80 participants and 12 speakers from Qatar, the Middle East, Europe and the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada.

“Most of the participants are metabolic doctors or dieticians. This second workshop was conducted as a result of great feedback on the first workshop, and we are planning to have it every two years, to be rotated in other Gulf countries as well as Qatar,” said Dr Tawfeg Ben Omran, Head of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics at HMC’s Department of Pediatrics, and Chairman of the workshop.

“The idea for this workshop is to have a round table discussion so that we can explore collaboration with other Gulf countries in this field, as we share the same basics in regard to population and diseases in the region. We see mostly the same cases, and sometimes a new disorder is found that is not known in the rest of the world, or some countries develop new approaches to metabolic treatments. Through this discussion we might be able to come up with recommendations on how we can collaborate to deliver the best care for our patients,” Dr Ben Omran explained.

A metabolic disease or disorder is characterized by problems with converting food to energy on a cellular level, and is typically hereditary. Most persons affected may appear healthy for years, or may have symptoms that are also shared by other conditions, making specialized metabolic screening necessary for early detection of the disorder.

Most people suffering from metabolic disorders require special dietary therapy in order to avoid accumulation of toxic metabolites due to harmful substances in food, according to one of the speakers, Ms Reem Al Saadi, Acting Assistant Director for the Dietetics and Nutrition Department at Hamad General Hospital. Management of metabolic disorders should start at an early stage after a newborn baby is screened and diagnosed, in order to avoid any defects in the baby’s development.

Metabolic screening for all newborn babies in Qatar is now conducted in-house at HMC, which partnered with the prestigious University Children’s Hospital in Heidelberg, Germany in 2003 to start providing the service. “About 160,000 babies have been screened in the last nine years, and about 270 babies have been found to have metabolic disorders,” said Professor Georg Hoffmann, Chairman of Pediatrics at Heidelberg University Hospital. He explained that compared to most countries outside of the Gulf region, there are three times as many babies affected with metabolic disorders in Qatar due to high consanguinity rates in the region.

“Qatar has shown wonderfully how well the newborn screening works here and it should also be transported to other countries,” said Prof. Hoffmann, who also gave an overview and update on epileptic encephalopathies and was one of the moderators during the workshop.

Experts also discussed topics such as basic principles in ketogenic diet, update on fatty acid oxidation disorders, establishing innovative services for metabolic dietary management in the region, and emergency management of inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). Practical sessions were conducted for emergency dietary protocols for common IEM, and low-protein recipes for traditional dishes.