• 1/16/2020

    The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), and Aspetar, recently hosted Qatar’s first healthcare mass gathering conference, Qatar Health 2020, as part of the healthcare sector’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022. 

    The conference took place from 16 to 18 January and aimed at improving healthcare professionals’ understanding of mass gathering events in preparation for one of the world’s largest sporting events. 

    The opening ceremony of the conference was attended by Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, who explained that the healthcare sector is working together to ensure it is fully prepared to respond to the unique demands of major sporting events.  

    “In recent years Qatar has hosted an increasing number of largescale sporting events which attract tens of thousands of people to one location. Mass gathering events in general have the potential to strain health systems. For this reason, we are placing great emphasis on ensuring the healthcare sector as a whole is fully prepared and able to appropriately respond,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari. 
    “Mass gathering medicine is a new field of medicine that focuses on the health risks of mass gatherings and our hosting of Qatar Health 2020 is part of our efforts to ensure our public healthcare system and professionals are ready for the World Cup 2022,” explained Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari. 

    The first conference of its kind in the country, Qatar Health 2020 provided the guiding principles for pre-planned mass gathering events and encouraged the building of relationships and the sharing of best practices in public health, security, and crowd management. It also provided an opportunity to look at advances in mass gathering preparedness and planning as part of setting the scene for a successful FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. 

    “In the past 12 months, Qatar’s healthcare sector has supported a number of largescale sporting events in the country, including the IAAF World Athletics Championships and the FIFA Club World Cup. We have provided a wide range of services to these events via HMC’s Emergency Departments and Ambulance Service, PHCC’s primary care physicians, and Aspetar’s sports medicine experts. These events have enabled us to implement and assess our response to mass gatherings as we continue to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2022,” said Dr. AbdulWahab Al Musleh, Chairman of Qatar Health 2020 and the World Cup 2022 Healthcare and Doping Control Committee.

    “This is an extremely important area of healthcare delivery and I am delighted with the outcome of Qatar Health 2020. We had more than 3,000 delegates, predominantly from across Qatar’s healthcare sector, attend this unique event. Delegates had the opportunity to learn about a range of topics associated with mass gatherings during the conference, including public health surveillance, risk and crisis communication, crowd and environmental management, prevention of infectious diseases, incident and outbreak response management, and health promotion and public information,” added Dr. Al Musleh.

    Dr. Mariam Ali Abdulmalik, Managing Director, PHCC said incorporating an all hazard, prevention-driven, integrated, evidence-based approach that is delivered across the sector by a multidisciplinary effort is key to preparation efforts in primary healthcare.

    “Our preparation for mass gathering at PHCC enhances our ability to deliver primary care services to citizens and visitors alike comprehensively and efficiently. Our goal is to ensure that provisions of care are in place. The measures we have undertaken to ensure this include a trained multidisciplinary team, a well-informed community, and facilities that are equipped and easily accessible fully integrated into a primary care setting,” said Dr. Abdulmalik.

    As part of Qatar Health 2020, international experts with experience in mass gatherings as well as representatives from previous World Cup host countries, including Russia and Brazil, delivered a number of key presentations. The conference also included world-renowned speakers from academic institutions, healthcare leaders, disaster managers, and government bodies.