The Women’s Well-Being Clinic at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is fully open for regular consultation sessions following the recommencement of services at Al Wakra Hospital. Al Wakra Hospital was previously designated as a COVID-19 facility.

The services at the Women’s Well-Being Clinic is focused on promoting the well-being of women throughout their pregnancy, birth-giving and the 12 months after their baby’s birth. Over 2,000 women have been screened for their well-being needs since the clinic was established in July 2020.

Holistic approach

Located in Al Wakra Hospital, the service is designed to provide a holistic approach to the physical and emotional health of women through their pregnancy journey, recognising that life changes around pregnancy can make women more vulnerable to mental health problems.

Dr Sazgar Abdullah Hamad
Dr Sazgar Abdullah Hamad

Among the target audience for the service are women who experience maternal mental challenges. The service provides bereavement support, such as in the case of stillbirths or infant death, where counselling is provided to both husband and wife.

To access the service, women can either request a referral from their doctor or contact the Women’s Mental Health and Well-Being service through the toll-free number 16000 and selecting the confidential Mental Health Helpline option.

Dr Sazgar Abdullah Hamad, clinical lead for the Virtual Women’s and Perinatal Service at HMC, said the team have been observing incidence rates of anxiety and depression among women that is comparable to international data.

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we are seeing more cases of medium to high anxiety among pregnant women and young mothers.

Dr Hamad said that the mother’s concerns are mainly due to feelings of uncertainty related to the place of delivery and changes in healthcare teams, such as doctors, nurses and midwives, due to COVID-19 requirements. For expatriate women, the additional worry includes the fear of being alone during and after delivery, without the help of family. She added that the service is being adapted to local needs and customs.

It is still a relatively new service and we are mindful that maternal mental health is often a challenging topic for women and their families to acknowledge and discuss, even with professional healthcare teams. We, therefore, enforce strict privacy protocols for each consultation to give women more confidence in speaking out.

Increased anxiety and stress levels

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a general increase in anxiety and stress levels in populations across the world, but this experience has also helped increase the public dialogue about mental health and thereby reduce some of the stigma inhibiting people from seeking professional help. The Women’s Well-Being Clinic operates a confidential service and will enlist the aid of maternal mental health professionals to provide specialist care where needed.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Jussara Da Silva Brito expressed her delight at the reopening of the clinic which provides a much-needed service.

By end of last year, we had over 65 patients being treated in both face-to-face and online counselling sessions. For infection control reasons we had to cease (face-to-face) sessions earlier this year but where possible, we tried to continue with telephone consultations for patients who really needed our support. We are very excited to be able to meet our patients again as close human interaction can be an important factor in treatment success.

Brito added that their expansion plans include targeted training for all nurse-midwives to be able to detect and support mothers with anxiety and depression. She said they will also reinstate the ‘midwife homecare service’, which screens all mothers following discharge from the hospital after giving birth. Currently, they offer screening, triage and counselling in English and Arabic. They also plan to provide a screening questionnaire in Hindi, which is the third most widely spoken language of patients.

The Women’s Well-Being Clinic supports the Qatar National Health Strategy 2016 – 2022 principle that healthy women lead to healthy pregnancies.

For more information about the service, visit  

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