Qatar Foundation Chairperson, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, led the official opening of the 2022 edition of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), taking place in a hybrid format in Doha this week, from 4 – 6 October, under the theme Healing the Future.

In her opening remarks, she said that WISH has always been a summit of big ideas. And while this year there are many themes, there is one overarching goal – search for solutions to enable all of us to live balanced, safe and healthy lives.

HH Sheikha Moza said that this is where sports and exercise play a huge role, as participation is unlimited by age or class, but open to all.

Big sporting events have always been a source of inspiration; motivating the State of Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup™, breathing new life into our country.

She said that events such as these can inspire us all, in Qatar and across the world, to rebuild our healthcare systems, and make them robust and accessible to all.

In closing, Her Highness said they look towards transformative events to inspire individuals and remind them of their responsibility to their personal health and their community.

Better health for everyone

Among the several VIP also in attendance at the opening ceremony were Tanzania President, HE Samia Suluhu Hassan; Rwanda First Lady, HE Jeannette Kagame; and Sierra Leone First Lady HE Dr Fatima Maada Bio. A number of government officials, ministers, experts, leaders and decision-makers in various fields also graced the opening.

WISH Executive Chair, Lord Darzi of Denham, highlighted WISH’s enduring work and impact despite many obstacles over the past ten years, reflecting on the lessons learnt from challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the mission of WISH is to bring people together to develop, promote and disseminate innovations that can really transform the world. He said that over the next three days, participants can learn together, and inspire each other to achieve shared ambitions. He said that he wanted to show the world how, in place of discord and division, collaboration and cooperation can help us meet the challenges we face.

With the power of the WISH community, we can promote better health for everyone and broaden access to high-quality care for all.

‘This is what we mean by healing the future’

HE Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of The United Republic of Tanzania, recognised the key role of WISH, by contributing immensely to the literature on health issues and on influencing governmental policies aiming to achieve universal healthcare.

She said that the interest of WISH – of having a fair, equitable and healthy world is clearly reflected by the range of experts gathered at the summit.

I’m witnessing first-hand the enthusiasm of key global players in the health sector to drive efforts to promote healthier and equitable access to health services in order to achieve sustainable development. Certainly, today’s conference is a state in the right direction and I’m in full support of it.

She said that Tanzania greatly values the partnership with WISH, and is keen to expand collaboration around a healthier, fair and equitable healthcare system for her people.

Innovation and imagination in healthcare

Qatar Minister of Public Health, HE Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, was also in attendance, together with the Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari. Ministerial delegations from 16 countries were also present, including representatives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The keynote speaker at the opening ceremony was Dr Noubar Afeyan, Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, and co-founder of American pharmaceutical and biotech company Moderna, developer of the COVID-19 key vaccine.

The efforts of all of us in this room to advance human health are taking place against the backdrop of what we call a Health Care System, but in reality, is a Sick Care System. We spend an enormous amount of time, effort and money treating people once they are sick, rather than trying to keep them healthy.

By waiting for diseases to manifest, costs are higher, preventing many from accessing care, and outcomes are worse. Early detection that preempts disease or reverses or manages a pre-disease condition could offer a solution to health care inequities. We call this preemptive health: the application of leading-edge biological sciences and digital technology to traditional public health goals.

Speaking on the creation of Moderna’s safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine, he emphasised the role of innovation and imagination in creating breakthrough leaps in biotechnology and examined the pathway to preventing and preempting disease before it takes hold.

The opening ceremony concluded with an expert panel discussion on building the resilience of global health systems. The discussion was underpinned by an evidence-based policy report launched shortly before the summit titled, Building Health System Resilience; a roadmap for navigating future pandemics.

Forums, Talks

Day one of WISH featured a forum based on the WISH 2022 report titled, A new era for vaccine innovation: Harnessing the lessons learned from COVID-19 Vaccine. The panel discussed enablers of pharmaceutical innovation, from advancements in technology to operational excellence to clinical trial design and policy recommendations to build on this progress for future vaccines.

An insightful discussion also ensued around the topic, Islamic Ethics and the Healthcare of Children in the Genetics Era, where experts discussed Islamic ethical approaches to addressing various dilemmas surrounding premarital, preimplantation, and prenatal and newborn genetic testing.

Several other talks and activities took place, including a showcase of the WISH 2022 innovators – 20 healthcare entrepreneurs who were selected to exhibit at this year’s summit as a result of qualifying through the WISH Innovation Competitions.

 

WISH is also celebrating its 10th anniversary and the first major in-person gathering since 2018.

To see the WISH 2022 agenda and engage with the global summit virtually, download the WISH 2022 app or visit wish.org.qa.


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