As part of its ongoing networking opportunities for its members, the Qatar British Business Forum (QBBF) held a breakfast event on 8 October 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha.
QBBF invited Sultana Afdhal, CEO of World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), to speak at the breakfast event. Titled ‘Innovation in Healthcare: A WISH Perspective’, Afdhal gave an informative and interesting history of the summit, as well as the economic benefits of investing in health.
The Chairman of QBBF, Emad Turkman, said, ‘It was great having Sultana Afdhal addressing our members. Sometimes the business community gets so wrapped up around their day-to-day businesses that they lose their sight on what is going on behind the scenes and major initiatives like WISH, which works tirelessly to improve healthcare and health awareness in the needed countries. This morning’s presentation was an eye opener for our members and made all of us realise that individually we need to do more to enhance the healthy living and health awareness for the less privileged people than ourselves.’
The talk touched on important community aspects, such as how educating the population on healthcare issues can increase attendance at schools and the workplace, leading to higher productivity. Investment is also higher, as people will more likely save money when in good health and expect to live longer, and businesses will invest in countries with a healthy population.
Innovation was also discussed, in terms of best buys – cost-effective health solutions that are feasible and culturally acceptable – as well the most suitable solutions for future health problems. According to Afdhal, it is not just the amount of money that is devoted to healthcare issues, but how that money is then used. She cited malaria as an example, where significant spending has seen better control of the disease, but which needs continued funding to maintain this trend. Likewise, technology plays a crucial part, such as the Passive Vaccine Storage Device, an insulated container made by Global Good, a collaboration between the Gates Foundation and innovation lab Intellectual Ventures. The container keeps vaccines fresh for nearly one month, vital when travelling around less accessible regions.
During the Q&A session, Afdhal confirmed that the WISH summit is now biennial, allowing researchers more time to write reports and organisers to bring together healthcare specialists. It also means that the energy created from each summit can be continued more successfully and tangibly, by adopting new strategies and initiatives, building on the reports submitted. One such example is the global Nursing Now strategy. After attending the launch meeting in February at St Thomas’ Hospital, London in the company of patron the Duchess of Cambridge, Afdhal returned to Qatar and the initiative was launched just one month later in conjunction with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). Nursing Now Qatar is the first of its kind in the Arabian Gulf region.
‘I’m trying to bring global campaigns into Qatar, make Qatar relevant but also make us relevant to the rest of the world,’ said Afdhal. ‘For the first time, we’re actually going to do WISH in other areas. We’re talking to WHO and we’re going to do a mini-conference in an African country and then a seminar in Oxford University and we’re also looking at Columbia University.’
In addition to the presentation by Afdhal, members and guests had a chance to catch up and network over refreshments and light bites. The breakfast events provide an alternative solution for members who may be unable to attend evening get-togethers.
QBBF has long been involved in the healthcare industry in Qatar. Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, the world’s only fully-functioning accredited eye hospital on board an aircraft, will be returning to Qatar during WISH 2018, taking place 13–14 November. Last year, QBBF joined local dignitaries and VIPs for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital and supported the eyecare charity to raise awareness about its projects.
Click here to register to WISH 2018 conference in November