Doha, 17 June 2023: At the invitation of the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Tobacco Control Center, represented Qatar at the 7th National Forum for Tobacco Control. The forum, which took place on 11 June in Riyadh, KSA, was held under the auspices of the Saudi Minister of Health Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Jalajel.
Dr. Al Mulla presented Qatar’s pioneering experience in the field of tobacco control. He noted that Qatar is among the first countries to introduce tobacco cessation services in the region, highlighting that HMC’s Tobacco Control Center has been designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for treating tobacco dependence. In addition, Dr. Al Mulla presented the journey of HMC’s Tobacco Control Center and the most important milestones of the Center and Qatar in terms of enacting tobacco control legislations. Dr. Al Mulla also explained the role of HMC’s Tobacco Control Center in raising public awareness about the harm of smoking and presented some of the research projects carried out by the Center, as well as the aspects of cooperation between the Center and the WHO to promote knowledge-sharing in the field of tobacco control. Dr. Al Mulla stressed that Qatar will continue to support effective cooperation among GCC countries to step up efforts in the field of tobacco control.
The conference witnessed a participation of regional and international experts from WHO and regional and global organizations and anti-tobacco community advocates. The conference included several presentations from representatives of tobacco control sectors in Saudi Arabia and the region including, Dr. Fatima El Awa, Regional Advisor, Tobacco Free Initiative WHO, Dr. Heba Fouad, Technical Surveillance Officer, WHO regional office, Dr. Dongbo Fu, Medical Officer for Smoking Cessation, WHO Geneva, Ms. Hayley Jones, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Non-Communicable Diseases from New Zealand. The forum also included panel discussions and provided a platform to strengthen cooperation between the GCC countries and WHO, build new relationships, share ideas and perspectives regionally and internationally, and explore innovative approaches to address the challenges associated with tobacco use.
The attendees stressed the importance of permanent and effective cooperation in this field, as this forum supports the standardization of efforts to combat tobacco in the Gulf countries.