Doha, 29 June, 2020: The Minister of Public Health, Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, today attended a meeting of the COVID-19 System Wide Incident Command Committee (SWICC) where she was briefed on the latest updates and plans to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Qatar.
The SWICC is made up of clinical and operational leaders from across the healthcare sector and was formed in February, before any cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Qatar, to lead the healthcare sector’s response to the virus.
“At the beginning of this pandemic, one of the most critical elements of our healthcare system’s response was to be able to plan and deliver an effective operational response to COVID-19. Making sure that we had enough hospital beds, intensive care capacity, and isolation facilities to provide high-quality care to everyone who needed it has been central to the success of our response to COVID-19,” explained Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
“This has been no easy task, and it is the SWICC committee, chaired by Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, who have worked tirelessly over the last few months to make sure that we have always had enough beds and staff to provide high-quality care for all our COVID-19 patients. We thank them for their unwavering dedication and commitment to our patients,” added Her Excellency.
During the meeting Dr. Al Kaabi and members of the SWICC updated the Minister of Public Health on the latest status. She was briefed on the encouraging trend of declining numbers of people being admitted to hospital and intensive care each day as a result of the virus. The meeting also discussed in detail the concerning recent increases in positive cases among Qatari and expat families and how this could lead to increases in hospitalizations, and deaths, in the near future if people fail to follow the official prevention advice issued by the Ministry of Public Health. Although the numbers are reducing there is concern on the increased severity of the illness with more patients being admitted directly to ICU.
“On behalf of all members of SWICC, I would like to thank Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari. Throughout this unprecedented pandemic, Her Excellency’s leadership and guidance have enabled us to effectively plan and deliver our comprehensive strategy,’’ explained Dr. Al Kaabi.
“COVID-19 is far from over in Qatar and we will be living with the virus for many months to come, but as a healthcare sector, we should be proud of our efforts so far. We have worked with speed and efficiency to more than triple our ICU bed capacity and establish medical and isolation facilities for tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients. By ensuring anyone with COVID-19 can quickly access the medical care they need we have been able to treat their symptoms early and prevent complications – this has been a key factor in Qatar having one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the world,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.
“In addition to leading the healthcare sector’s COVID-19 response, the SWICC has also been responsible for making sure our non-COVID-19 services continue to run wherever possible and we have overseen some of the most rapid innovation in service provision imaginable: all to make sure our patients can get continuity of care during this challenging time,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.