The Maternal and Child Health Symposium (MCH), hosted by Sidra Medicine and ongoing until this Monday, 9 March, at the Qatar National Convention Centre aims to highlight the latest developments and innovations in maternal and child health, patient care and research.

Aligned with Qatar’s National Health Strategy 2018-2022 priority targets: – Healthy women leading to healthy pregnancies – the MCH Symposium 2020 showcases presentations and panel sessions from more than 32 local and international experts in maternal and child health. Close to 400 delegates attended the first day.


The three-day symposium has been structured on three biological transitions during pregnancy: pre-conception; pregnancy and fetal development; and post-natal transition. Sessions cover topics related to understanding the role of lifestyle and women’s health in fertility; the role of infectious and chronic diseases in reproductive health; as well as the latest updates on the novel tools and protocols used in IVF and in management of pregnancy complications.

Dr Souhaila Al Khodor, co-chair of the MCH Symposium said the research theme is built around the philosophy that health in the early years of childhood is the foundation of health throughout the life course.

By bringing together local and global experts, it is enlightening to see that we share a common goal – and that is, in order to build a healthier society, we must focus on improving maternal and child health.

Day one of the MCH Symposium 2020 addressed issues on pre-conception and reproductive health, advanced therapeutics and precision medicine. It also tackled recent updates on improving reproductive health; the role of lifestyle and women’s health in fertility; and how pregnancy can be a window to life.

Professor Kent Thornburg
Professor Kent Thornburg

Keynote speaker Kent Thornburg, Professor of Medicine from Oregon Health and Science University, talked about ‘Healthy Women, Healthy Society’. He said that the nutrition a woman receives during her pregnancy will affect her baby for life.

He pointed out that population health depends on good nutrition and low stress in women – before and during pregnancy and during lactation. He said that if we cannot address these key areas, we will never be able to reverse chronic disease levels to the rates that we want.

The MCH Symposium 2020 is in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar University, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar National Research Fund, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The symposium has been approved as an Accredited Group Learning Activity Category 1 by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners – Accreditation Department (QCHP-AD).

For more information about the symposium, visit