Over 5,000 healthcare professionals virtually attended the Qatar Health 2022 and 2nd Qatar Public Health Conference, which was held in Doha recently.

Taking place virtually from 9 to 12 February, the conference is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and aimed at preparing the healthcare sector for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Conference sessions focused on preparations for the World Cup and Qatar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was hosted by high profile speakers including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary-General, HE Hassan al-Thawadi.

Dr AbdulWahab Al Musleh, co-Chair of Qatar Health 2022 and 2nd Qatar Public Health Conference said that as the country starts the countdown for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, it was more important than ever for healthcare workers to have access to the latest information and best practice.

This is an extremely important area of healthcare delivery and I am delighted with the outcome. We had more than 5,000 delegates, predominantly from across Qatar’s healthcare sector.

Mass events and public health

Delegates had the opportunity to learn about a range of topics associated with mass gatherings during the conference, including public health surveillance, risk and crisis communication, crowd and environmental management, prevention of infectious diseases, incident and outbreak response management, and health promotion and public information.

According to Dr Sheikh Mohamed Al-Thani, Director of Public Health Department at MoPH, and event co-chair, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of agility and flexibility in terms of planning as well as immediate responses to situations.

He said that the healthcare and mass event landscape is very different from when Qatar was awarded the rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in December 2010 and we now live with a pandemic – with COVID-19 still very much a part of our lives.

Dr  Al-Thani said that healthcare teams from MoPH, HMC, Primary Health Care Corporation and many other healthcare providers in Qatar are working together to provide medical services to teams and travelling fans. The conference sessions, according to him, highlighted the extensive planning and preparation underway to ensure everyone’s readiness for the tournament, including plans which are taking into account, measures related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Hassan Al Thani of HMC and another event co-chair said that 2022 is a momentous year for Qatar and as healthcare providers, they are playing a unique and important role in delivering what will be the best FIFA World Cup the world has seen.

While many teams have already been working tirelessly to prepare for this, there is no doubt that we do so in a radically different environment than we ever anticipated.

He said that because of the changing landscape, they wanted to ensure that colleagues from the healthcare sector had access to the latest insights, the newest research and experience in key areas of mass gatherings and pandemics.

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