Doha, 9 February, 2019: This weekend officials from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the acclaimed research institution, Heidelberg University Hospital, gathered for the Doha-Heidelberg Clinical, Oncology, Research Conference. The conference, which took place on 8 and 9 February, also saw the hosting of the first Rare Disease Symposium, illustrating the growing interest in this topic.
Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, attended the conference's opening ceremony and noted the significance of the collaboration between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital. During the event Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari signed a partnership agreement with Professor Dr. Annette Grüters-Kieslich, Chief Medical Director and Chairperson of the Board of Heidelberg University Hospital to establish a National Center for Rare Disease in Qatar.
“I am delighted to see the progress that has been achieved since the agreement between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital was signed a year ago. Not only have we had the benefit of senior consultants from Heidelberg visiting Qatar to provide specialist expertise to our patients, but we have also benefited from opportunities for joint training exercises, with many physicians from Qatar having trained in Heidelberg’s world-renowned facility,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
“As we work together to explore new ways of delivering better patient care, education, training, and research, we will continue to look at areas where Qatar can develop further and one such area is the planned Qatar National Center for Rare Disease. This center will be a joint collaboration with Heidelberg University Hospital and will see the combining of both organization’s knowledge and expertise,” added Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
Professor Grüters-Kieslich, who also presented a keynote lecture on the evolving concept of rare diseases, stated she is confident HMC and Heidelberg will continue to be strong partners, collaborating across a number of areas, including cancer research and training.
Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, Chairman of the International Medical Affairs Office at HMC and Conference Chairperson, said the gathering provided a forum for clinicians, researchers, academics, and healthcare professionals to explore new clinical and research collaborations, and to build on many of the collaborations that were born out of last year’s inaugural conference.
“We signed an agreement last year to deepen the long-standing relationship between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital and we have already seen significant benefits resulting from the close collaboration between both our institutions. During the past year, we held a neurosciences symposium to coincide with Multiple Sclerosis Day and Heidelberg University Hospital contributed numerous speakers to the program for our 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Conference in October. A senior delegation from HMC’s Radiology Department also visited Heidelberg in May to explore potential areas of collaboration. And at our joint conference this year, we are holding the first symposium on rare diseases, which is of great interest to our scientists and clinicians,” said Dr. Al Kaabi.
Dr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Head of Urology at HMC and Chair of the Uro-Oncology National Clinical Advisory Group expressed his appreciation to the conference’s speakers. Dr. Al Rumaihi, who was also Chair of the Conference’s Scientific Committee, stated that the high caliber of local speakers allowed for the development of an expanded and exeptional program.