Doha, 18 February, 2019: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Communicable Disease Center (CDC) delivered care to patients at more than 120,000 outpatient visits in 2018. A regional first, the facility is dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases.
Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, CDC Medical Director, said the specialist tertiary hospital cares for patients with a variety of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), influenza, measles, hepatitis, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and a number of travel-related diseases and illnesses. She says in addition to disease diagnosis, treatment, and health education, contact screenings are one of the most effective tools for preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
“As the first facility of its kind in the region, we pride ourselves on being the leading center for the treatment and control of infectious diseases. The CDC provides high-quality care to patients and ensures strict infection control measures,” said Dr. Al Maslamani.
“Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and many can be easily passed from person to person. To help prevent transmission of infectious diseases, we screen all contacts of the affected TB patients received at our facility. Last year we conducted over 4,100 contact screenings,” added Dr. Al Maslamani.
Contact screening or tracing is a primary means of controlling infectious diseases such as tuberculosis. The objective of contact screening is to identify people who have been exposed to an infectious disease and to ensure they receive appropriate treatment, when necessary. Dr. Al Maslamani says contact screenings for infections such as TB and latent TB not only stop transmission of the infection but can also prevent the development of the active disease in individuals who have been infected.
In addition to general outpatient visits and contact screenings, the CDC recorded nearly 40,000 direct observation therapy (DOT) patient visits during 2018, the majority receiving anti-TB medication. DOT is a method of drug administration in which healthcare professionals observe a person as they take each dose of a medication. The practice helps ensure patients receive all medications as prescribed and is also used to monitor the response to treatment and to prevent antimicrobial resistance.
Dr. Al Maslamani says in addition to outpatient clinics, the CDC offers comprehensive inpatient services for infectious disease patients who need hospitalization. Last year the facility cared for more than 1,200 inpatients.
The CDC is also home to Qatar’s first dedicated and comprehensive Travel Clinic. Opened in January 2017, this one-stop-shop offers vaccinations and preventative information for people traveling overseas. It also provides assessment, treatment, and counseling for those returning with travel-related illnesses.