Doha, 13 July, 2020: Speaking at the meeting with staff from across Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Intensive Care Units, Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health said the availability of ICU hospital beds and high-quality medical treatment have been key components of the country’s ability to manage the pandemic.
“His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has placed priority on healthcare and today’s outstanding outcomes are a direct result of His Highness’s foresight and vision in investing in healthcare. Qatar has the world’s 2nd lowest mortality rate from COVID-19 despite having a high infection rate. Since the start of the outbreak we have worked hard as a healthcare system to ensure every part of the system delivers at its best. We have made healthcare easily accessible to all and expanded our intensive care capacity so that every patient requiring lifesaving treatments is able to do so quickly. The strength and resilience of our world-class healthcare system has enabled us to quickly expand and re-purpose existing resources so that we could provide 3,500 hospital beds and 700 ICU beds dedicated to COVID-19,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
“Today I would like to pay tribute to the ICU teams across HMC but especially to the Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital team who have provided professional, high quality and compassionate care to our COVID-19 patients. The COVID-19 mortality rate in ICU in Qatar is around 9 percent compared to most developed countries where the COVID-19 ICU mortality rate is around 35 percent. They have ensured that the latest and best medicine and protocols are available to our patients.”
“Qatar has acted decisively and implemented stringent measures that helped contain the spread of this virus. We have all made significant sacrifices, but it is important that we continue adhering to infection prevention measures and continue to act thoughtfully to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Keep your physical distance, wear your masks, wash your hands and at the first sign of any symptoms call 16000 or visit a dedicated healthcare testing facility,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, SWICC Chairman at HMC said many staff have worked behind the scenes for months to deliver on a plan that would ensure the right care was available at the right time and place, and that there was no shortage of beds for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
“Seven facilities were designated to care for COVID-19 patients and through the hard work of many individuals, we were able to significantly expand acute and critical care capacity. By assigning hospitals as dedicated COVID-19 treatment facilities we have been able to keep the majority of COVID-19 patients in a small number of locations. This has not only ensured there was dedicated, specially trained staff and the necessary equipment available to these patients, but also that patients who required non-COVID-19 care could access treatment more safely,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.
Dr. Ahmed Al Mohammed, Chairman of HMC’s Department of Internal Medicine and Acting Chairman of ICUs said since March more than 1,370 patients with COVID-19 have been cared for by ICU’s located across HMC. He said Qatar’s ability to effectively treat patients with the most severe symptoms in highly-advanced Intensive Care Units is a key factor in why Qatar’s COVID-19 mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world.
“Due to Qatar’s investment in critical care and ICU facilities, we have been able to ensure patients at risk for severe COVID-19 illness received more sophisticated care. From establishing new ICU beds at Ras Laffan Hospital, to re-purposing beds to expand capacity at facilities like Hazm Mebaireek General and The Cuban Hospitals, we have been able to ensure patients who require intensive treatment and advanced respiratory support have access to the care they need. Working together as a health system we implemented a strategy that has allowed us to help prevent the high death rates seen in many countries,” added Dr. Al Mohammed.
“Our comprehensive plan to expand hospital capacity to meet the increased demand from COVID-19 delivered significant expansion of intensive care services – more than tripling ICU capacity to over 700 beds across our hospital system. Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, the main COVID-19 hospital, increased its ICU capacity from just 8 beds to 226 beds, and has to date treated over 1,180 patients in ICU. More than 680 of these patients have been intubated and received mechanical ventilation, while our team has performed a range of procedures including bronchoscopies, advanced hemodynamic monitoring, continuous veno-venous hemofiltration as renal replacement therapy, central line placement and tracheostomies. Being able to provide patients with these advanced treatments without delay has, for many patients, been the difference between life and death. This is evidenced in the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU in Qatar, which is around 9 percent, one of the lowest in the world,” said Dr. Mohamad Khatib, Head of Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital.