The first Swedish health care and life science delegation to Doha, Qatar took place between 25th-28th of March. The delegation was co- organized by the Swedish Embassy in Doha, Global Pharma Consulting and Swecare and was led by our Ambassador Ewa Polano and consisted of 22 delegates representing a wide spectrum of Swedish innovations and research in line with focus areas stated in Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022 such as diabetes care and prevention and rehabilitation medicine and companies in the highly prioritized areas of precision medicine and virtual reality and medicine within rare diseases. The delegation had representatives from academia, public- and private sector in line with the triple helix approach that Swecare always aims for.
The program started with a kick-off meeting for the delegation to go through the program, get an overview of Qatar and the health care sector in particular and to get to know each other. The kick-off meeting was followed by a dinner with the swedish medical community in Qatar. Dr. Egon Toft, Dean of the College of Medicine at Qatar University is from Denmark and were also present at the dinner and said a few words about the ambitions of Qatar University.
First meeting was at the Ministry of Public Health with Dr. Ahmed Al Mulla, (Senior Consultant and Advisor to the Minister of Public Health), Mohamed Al Thani and the heads of departments. As a concrete result from the meeting several follow up meetings were arranged to further elaborate on future collaborations and knowledge sharing.
The delegation was then accompanied by Dr. Ahmed Al Mulla to our next meeting at the National Obesity Center but managed to give us a tour at the Hamad Tobacco Control Center before which is a collaboration center with WHO.
Prof. Shahrad Taheri at the newly established National Obesity Center (at Hamad Medical Corporations) received the delegations and presented their great success rate of patients enrolled at their clinic and different programs that they have put in place to promote an healthy life style for the Qatari people.
To get an overview of the registration process for pharmaceutical- and medtech companies the delegates met with Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Hussein Babiker, Head of Registration & Drugs Pricing Section
at Ministry of Public Health.
This was followed by a meeting with Dr. Hareth Al Khater and his team at the impressive National Center for Cancer Care and Research. Sweden being well-known for its innovations and know-how in the sector raised great interest from the Qatari side. The work at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research is now following their second five year cancer plan.
An overview of Weill Cornell Medical University and their establishment in Qatar was presented by Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, Dr. Marco Ameduri and Dr. Sohaila Cheema and resulted in discussions about the potential of maybe sharing knowledge and organizing webinars together.
Second day started with a meeting at the prestigious Qatar National Research Fund where the Executive Director Dr. Abdul Satter Al Taie (, Ms Noor Al-Mereki, Dr Mohammed Hussein Jarrar, Dr. Fatemeh Darakhshan) and colleagues presented the ongoing research commitments they have with Sweden. They also explained different types of set ups for research projects for future collaborations. QNRF are very interested in the way Sweden use triple helix approach to foster innovations.
Next meeting was with CEO Peter Morris and his international team at Sidra Medicine which is a hospital for women and children. The hospital struck the visitors with its impressive architecture to the precision of high quality care that is provided in the hospital.
The delegation also met and listened to Mr. Fayad Mohamed Katib and heard a presentation about their new project Alfardan Private Clinic and their ambitions within the health care sector.
Last meeting of the second day was a presentation of Aspetar and round tour where a Swedish Dr. Jan Ekstrand is the Chief Medical Officer. The guided tour included visits to everything from simulation center to rehabilitation pools and everything in a standard above the ordinary.
The last day of program the delegation met with Dr. Mahmoud Ali Zire and Manal Musallam Othman at Qatar Diabetes Association to learn about their work, around 17 percent of the population is suffering from Diabetes which puts a heavy load on the health care system
One of the highlights of the delegation was to meet with H.E. Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in her role as Vice Chair person and CEO of Qatar Foundation. The visit to Qatar Foundation started with a round tour of their facility and got a good look of the large premises. Dr. Richard O´Kennedy, Vice president for Research Development & Innovation at Qatar Foundation expressed their strong interest to see joint applications from different Swedish stakeholders.
Last meeting was with new Medical City Hospitals with Dr. Ali Jahni and colleagues. The three new hospitals - Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC), and Women’s Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) are one of the biggest healthcare facility expansion project in the region and will house 500 new hospital beds.
The delegation will hopefully bear in to projects that will develop the healthcare sector in both Sweden and Qatar.