Qatar Minister of Public Health HE Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari joined the inaugural ceremony for the recently held 3rd Qatar International Geriatrics and Dementia Conference

The three-day conference was hosted by the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, operated by the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). The presence of the HE Dr Al Kuwari underscored Qatar’s continuing commitment to advancing healthcare, particularly in the field of geriatrics and dementia care. The Minister of Health of the Republic of Iraq, HE Dr Saleh Mahdi Al Hasnawi, was also there together with other dignitaries and VIP guests.

The conference concluded successfully, having brought together over 800 professional attendees from local and international healthcare institutions.

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Challenges to develop age-appropriate care

At the forefront of the event was the crucial focus on addressing the growing global challenges and needs for the development of age-appropriate care.

The scientific programme delved into wide-ranging discussions on the latest evidence-based research as well as diagnostic and treatment options for managing geriatric syndromes and caring for individuals living with dementia.

The conference highlighted the importance of integrated, interdisciplinary care for older adults while also promoting the strategic healthy ageing agenda that encourages the adoption of a better lifestyle earlier in life to support overall well-being later. This includes adopting a balanced and nutritious diet, staying physically active, getting regular health check-ups, managing stress, staying socially connected and engaging in activities that promote cognitive function.

Dr Hanadi Al-Hamad, Head of the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia and Deputy Chief of Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation and Geriatrics at HMC, expressed her delight with the positive outcome of the conference. She said that as the country continues to undergo demographic shifts, and with a growing ageing population, it becomes crucial to proactively address the challenges and opportunities associated with the trend.

Dr Al-Hamad pointed to a strategic healthy ageing agenda that aligns with the National Health Strategy and Qatar’s vision of a healthier and happier population. She added that education is an important element in supporting this agenda, which was the impetus for the conference.

3rd Qatar International Geriatrics and Dementia Conference

More healthcare services for elderly patients

Dr Al-Hamad also expressed her gratitude for the support extended by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC). She said that the ministry was instrumental in the development of the National Dementia Plan, which was launched in 2018. They are currently working on the second edition due to be published next year.

The centre is also working closely with primary care partners to expand the Memory Clinics in health centres around Qatar to facilitate easier access for older patients.

The clinic aims to prevent and manage declines in intrinsic capacity, which refers to the physical and mental capacities that people need to be mobile and independent and to contribute to their communities. Dr Al-Hamad said they are planning the expansion of additional ICOPE clinics in primary care centres following the success of the pilot ICOPE clinic which was launched earlier this year.

ICOPE programme

The Integrated Care for Older Persons (ICOPE) programme is a set of evidence-based tools and guidelines for healthcare professionals to comprehensively assess and address the health of older individuals. ICOPE covers key domains such as mobility, cognition, vision, hearing, nutrition, and social participation.

By promoting integrated care and early intervention, the programme seeks to enable older people to maintain their autonomy and quality of life as they age.

The conference followed a pre-conference two-day workshop on Promoting Healthy Ageing organised by the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, together with PHCC and WHO representatives.

The workshop focused on Integrated Care for Older People at the Primary Health Care (PHC) and Enhancing the Long-Term Care Continuum in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region and was attended by healthcare officers from the WHO EMRO region who are looking at ways to enhance the well-being of elderly individuals, their families, and the communities to which they are connected.

The two-day multi-regional workshop is aligned with the United Nations (UN) Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) and the Healthy Ageing Collaborative (HAC), which serves as a platform dedicated to enhancing partnerships across various sectors and stakeholders to champion the cause of healthy ageing.

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