Mass gatherings can occur in complex-built environments such as shopping malls or airports as well as at pre-planned events such as sporting events, music festivals, and political rallies. They are characterized by the concentration of people at a specific location for a specific purpose over a set period and have the potential to strain the planning and response resources of the country or community. The decision to host a mass gathering will usually be made well in advance by the key agencies involved, to make effective prior planning possible.

Pre-planning for mass gatherings is of paramount importance and a thorough understanding of their many associated risks is essential to ensure all parties involved can provide a safe and secure environment for the public. Ensuring there is adequate preparation, prevention and response to any public health concerns is one of the most important aspects in planning for a mass gathering.  Indeed, the influx of large numbers of people to such events may lead to public health risks and stretch the health systems beyond their capacity.

Mass Gathering Medicine

Also known as Event Medicine, Crowd Medicine or Mass Gathering Health, this is a field of medicine that explores the health effects/risks of mass gatherings and the strategies that contribute positively to effective health services delivery during these events. The reason for the development of this field of medicine is because mass gatherings generate a higher incidence of injury and illness, and/or may be the subject to a catastrophic accident or attack resulting in a large number of injured or dead.

Key purposes of mass gathering medical services at an event are

  • Rapid access to the injured or ill patients
  • Effective stabilization and transport of injured or ill patients
  • On-site care for minor injuries and illnesses
Due to the growth in the area of Mass Gathering Medicine, there is a need for consistency in the research and evaluation of mass gathering events. This is important because mass gatherings may impact on health services and having a collective understanding of the impact of mass gatherings on health services may mitigate any potentially poor outcomes for patients. 

Health services are generally designed to meet routine priorities and demands and have limited capacity to expand. Even the most prepared of events may experience a disaster, which can overwhelm local healthcare systems and their ability to provide an adequate emergency response.  However, mass gatherings also present opportunities for long-lasting positive benefits such as stronger public health systems after the event, and improved global health security, as well as residents and visitors who are better informed about how they can protect themselves from certain diseases. 

Aim of the conference

Qatar Health 2020 is being organized by Hamad Medical Corporation in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup that will be hosted in Qatar.

The conference will offer national, regional and international delegates working in a healthcare related field the opportunity to learn about Mass Gatherings and Disaster Medicine from experts in this field including the World Health Organization and other international organizations involved in MGs, as well as previous World Cup host countries (Russia, Brazil, London (UK), academic institutions, healthcare leaders, disaster managers, global experts and government bodies.  

This international conference will provide the guiding principles for pre-planned mass gathering events and will encourage the building of relationships and the sharing of best practice in public health, security and crowd management. It will also provide an opportunity to look at advances in mass gathering preparedness and planning to set the scene for a successful 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.


  • Identify gaps and challenges in preparation for and the management of mass gatherings, between sectors and across levels (local, national, international). 
  • Collect lessons learnt and best practice for better preparedness and response in support of mass gatherings. 
  • Foster multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaboration between relevant stakeholders and find opportunities to enhance mass gathering preparedness
  • Review and analyze the latest advances on mass gatherings.

Topics to be covered

  • The emergence of medicine for mass gatherings: lessons learned 
  • Public health surveillance and epidemiology
  • Global perspectives for prevention of infectious diseases associated with mass gatherings 
  • Non-communicable health risks during mass gatherings
  • The crowd and environmental management during mass gatherings
  • Education and research for mass gatherings
  • Mass gatherings medicine: international cooperation and IHR
  • Incident and outbreak response management 
  • Event context and risk assessment 
  • Risk and crisis communication
  • Health promotion and public information 
  • Surveillance and alert systems
  • Modern technologies in mass gathering planning and operations
  • Environmental health and protection 
  • Event medical services
  • Disaster preparedness 
  • Preparedness for chemical, biological, and radio-nuclear agents

Proposed Methodology

  • Panel discussions
  • Case studies
  • Presentations 
  • Small groups workshops

Key speakers to be invited

  • WHO Mass Gathering Collaborative Centers Expertise:
    - Public Health England, United Kingdom
    - Flinders University, Australia
    - Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina, Serbia
    - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States of America
  • International, regional and national experts in Mass Gatherings
  • Other previous, current and future MG hosts:       
    -  Russian FIFA 2018 experts
    - Brazilian FIFA 2014 experts
    - South African FIFA 2010 experts
  • WHO EMRO MG Focal Point

Target Audience

  • Health providers (doctors, nurses, paramedics, and allied health professionals)
  • Public health specialists
  • Emergency managers and planners
  • Healthcare leaders, managers  
  • Academic and educational institutes
  • National emergency services