H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and H.E. Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health and Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) today officially opened the region’s first Communicable Disease Center (CDC).
Dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases as well as education and research, the CDC has a focus on tuberculosis (TB), respiratory diseases and other infectious diseases including leprosy, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), influenza, measles, hepatitis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus among other emerging and re-emerging infections.
The opening of the CDC marks the start of the largest expansion phase in HMC’s history, with the delivery of four new hospitals planned over the next six months.
Following the inauguration, their Excellencies toured the 9,000 square meter purpose-built facility which has 65 single-bedrooms, all with negative pressure and 100 percent fresh air exchange, with the capacity to be converted into isolation units in case of serious pandemics. The Center offers comprehensive inpatient services for infectious disease patients who need hospitalization and also houses outpatient clinics providing services which include pre-marital counseling and education for those with infectious diseases.
The CDC is also home to Qatar’s first dedicated and comprehensive Travel Clinic which will open in January 2017. This will be a one-stop-shop offering vaccinations and preventative information for people traveling overseas. It will also provide assessment, treatment and counselling for those returning with travel-related illnesses.
The building is equipped with an automated pharmacy system dispensing medication quickly and safely and enabling pharmacists to spend more time with patients. In addition, the CDC has in-built and stringent infection control measures including negative pressure patient rooms and public spaces with state-of-the-art air filtration and ventilation systems. These will prevent cross-contamination from room to room and will mitigate the risk of acquiring any infectious illnesses.
Commenting on the opening of the new facility, Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari said: “The new Communicable Disease Center will provide a dedicated facility for the identification and treatment of infectious diseases in Qatar, giving patients direct access to the most advanced treatment options available. It delivers a key piece of infrastructure in HMC’s facilities master plan and helps to meet the country’s growing need for specialist healthcare services and faster access to care options.”
Her Excellency added: “Working with the Ministry of Public Health, the Primary Health Care Corporation and other stakeholders, this new facility will also undertake a critical public health mission in the management of infectious diseases in Qatar and protecting the population from their impact.”
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Head of Infectious Diseases at HMC, and the clinical lead of the CDC said the CDC will be a center of innovation where HMC conducts infectious disease research and where infection related statistics are also collected and analyzed.
“The CDC is also home to the National TB Control Program and the TB Laboratory. This state-of-the art laboratory provides all public and private health sectors with TB diagnostics and leadership on a national level. The CDC also serves as a teaching center where young doctors, nurses and medical students learn how to diagnose and manage infectious diseases.” said Dr. Al Khal. “The CDC is not only Qatar’s first line of defense in partnership with Ministry of Public Health in identifying, preventing and managing outbreaks and pandemics, but we also aim to establish it as a world class research facility specializing in the field of transmissible diseases.”
Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Senior Consultant of Infectious Diseases and Deputy Chairperson of Medicine said in addition to its inpatient services and outpatient clinics, the CDC provides services beyond the clinical setting.
“We provide a confidential counseling service and other social services to enable individuals and families to deal with the diagnosis and management of their conditions,” Dr. Al Maslamani said. “The CDC team supports and treats patients with a spectrum of communicable diseases. A highly specialized team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals at the center provide consultations and treatments for patients who have infections that are beyond the scope of primary care services.”