An assessment of
To assess health care delivery system in the State of Qatar and
audit it according to the Joint Commission International (JCI)
The data for this retrospective descriptive study were taken
from the Annual Health Report of the National Health
Authority and Hamad Medical Corporation and various additional
sources like World Health Organization reports, Annual
Report of Saudi Arabia, and Compendium of Health Statistics,
UK. Population per physician, per general practitioner, and per
hospital bed, and nurses per physician ratio were calculated.
In 2008, the population per physician in Qatar was 444; the population per
general practitioner (GP) was 949; the population
per hospital bed was 716; and nurses per physician ratio was
2.6. During the last decade, the population of Qatar has more
than doubled, which has resulted in a similar increase in the
number of health care providers; moreover, many initiatives
launched in cooperation with internationally recognized institutions
have greatly improved the quality of the health service.
The weighted mean number of visits for 100 population was
calculated for the UK and Qatar, taking into consideration the
difference in age and sex structure. After comparison with the
UK data, population/GP ratio for Qatar should be 1193.
The Qatar health system has improved in the last decade, but
there is still the need for more medical workers in primary
Inequitable geographic distribution of
health care resources has long been recognized
as a worldwide problem (1-9).
Sufficient human resources are clearly a
prerequisite for adequate health care. In
turn, health care is one of the determinants
of population health along with
socioeconomic, environmental, and
Most surveys show that patients are
satisfied with the general practice care
they receive, but often perceive that the
consultations are too short and that
physicians do not use them well(2).
Generally, it is not easy to compare
specialist and primary care load and
performance, since consultations about
psychosomatic and behavioral problems
last longer than those about other problems(
2). The length of consultations is a
frequent patients’ concern. However, it
can be used as a marker for quality of
consultations in health care assessment(2).
The aim of this study was to examine the
provision of health services in the State of
Qatar with a special emphasis on primary
health care and to compare it with that in
other low, medium, and high income
The data used for this study were taken
from the Annual Health Report of the Ministry of Public Health and Hamad
Medical Corporation and published in
the Annual Health Report 2008(3). This
report contains population and vital
statistics, leading causes of death, health
care expenditures, hospital services,
number of medical staff per 100,000
population, hospital beds available per
100,000 population, population per bed,
population per pharmacist, population
per nurse, and general family health services
in Qatar. Additional data were
obtained from various sources, including
Government Health Statistics, National
Health Authority and Annual Health
Report 2008(2), Compendium of Health
Statistics in UK(4), and World Health
Organization Human Resources for
Health and Development Estimates of
Health Personnel(5-7). Also, Health
Statistics for Arabian Gulf States and
Western Countries were taken from the
World Health Organization Statistics
Report(8) and World Bank Report
The State of Qatar is situated on a 160
km-long peninsula on the western coast
of the Arabian Gulf. It occupies a total
area of 11,493 km2, including the
islands. The estimated population in
2008 was 1,448,449 (75.72% men and
24.28% women), 70% of which were
expatriates. By wisely using the revenues
from oil and gas, Qatar has built a sophisticated
social and health infrastructure.
The investment in health and social
development has resulted in dramatic
gains in the health and well-being of the
people. The proportion of health expenditure
excluding private sector was 3.1%
Table 1 shows some selected health indicators
and health services in Qatar. In
2008, the population per physician was
444, population per GP was 949, and
population per hospital bed was 716. Road
traffic accidents and poisoning were
ranked as the number one cause of death
(22.4%). The infectious disease with the
highest incidence rate per 10,000 was
chicken pox (39.07%). The population
per physician (1:444) was very close to
that in the UK (1:417), a representative of
economically developed countries.
In the period from 2000-2008, the
population of Qatar increased from
578,500 to 1,448,499(3). The increase in
population reflected in a greater demand
for physicians, which explains the rise in
the number of health care providers from 4,707 (1.48 health care providers per
1,000 population) to 11,949 (2.24 health
care providers per 1,000 population). In
addition to the growing number of health
care professionals, numerous new internationally
recognized institutions have
launched their initiatives in Qatar, thus
considerably improving the quality of the
health care system in the country.
Table 2 shows some selected health services
indicators for various low, middle, and
high income countries. It is clear that the
European countries and the US generally
have better population/physician and
population/beds ratios than various Arab,
Gulf Cooperation Council, and Middle
We estimated the ratios of health services
delivery and utilization in Qatar, which
was an extremely difficult task due to a
lack of reliable data. Underdeveloped nations have a low physician/population
ratio – 1:10000 in the Philippines, 1:7143
in Sri Lanka, 1:1667 in Tunisia, and
1:1429 in Pakistan. Oil-rich countries
have somewhat higher ratio – 1:667 in
Kuwait, 1:714 in Saudi Arabia, 1:769 in
Oman, and 1:625 in Bahrain, but still
lower than the developed nations – 1:182
in the USA, 1:303 in Germany, and 1:333
in Sweden(8,10). However, the ratios do not
always correlate directly with development;
Cuba has physician/population ratio
1:439 and Egypt 1:476. We may note that
physician/population ratios do not differ
among various specialties and cannot
accurately show whether there is an overor
undersupply of physicians. For example,
in the USA it is generally acknowledged
that there is an oversupply of surgeons and
if these physicians are included in the
physician/population ratios, the delivery of
general health care seems better than it
Various internationally accredited
recognized institutions have contributed
to the improvement of Qatar’s Health
Care System over the last decade. For
instance, the Pasteur Institute, Imperial
College, the University of Pittsburgh,
Weill Cornell Medical College,
Heidelberg University Hospital, and
Mayo Clinic have all contributed to the
improvement of the clinical, laboratory,
diagnostic, and research facilities in
Qatar. Moreover, the Joint Commission
International accreditation which began
in 2005, has greatly improved the quality
of health care management(11,12).
Longer consultations are associated with
better quality of care for patients with
chronic conditions; a more recent study
from Qatar(2) reported that the consultation
length with GP was 6.6 minutes per patient
per year (Table 1). This means that in 40
weeks with 6 working days, a primary care
physician in Qatar sees 69 patients per shift
or 9 per hour. Many studies agree that
consultations shorter than 10 minutes do
not have a significant effect on health
promotion(2). In British general practice, the
consultation time averaged 9.4 minutes(4)
and in the United States 13 minutes(2).
The number of primary health care
workers is still very low in Qatar (8.9%).
Over 76% of physicians work in tertiary
care and since postgraduate training is not well developed, these are almost
entirely in non-training grades (8.9%).
In wealthier countries, such as Australia
and the UK, this percentage is much
higher (43% and 40%, respectively).
It seems that a health service based on the
principles of primary health care ought to
take into account the parameters which
reflect the care given to individuals at the
health center level: 1) the population served
by a family physician (GP); 2) the number
of the primary health care workers and the
education and seniority of the primary
health care medical workforce. Finally,
international Collaboration and JCI accreditation
have improved the quality of health
care in Qatar in the last decade.
Abdulbari Bener and Ahmed Al Mazroei
1 Department of Medical Statistics and
Epidemiology, Hamad General
Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation,
Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha,
State of Qatar
2 Evidence for Population Health Unit,
School of Epidemiology and Health
Sciences, The University of Manchester,
Manchester, United Kingdom
3 Executive Director Facilities
Development Division, Hamad Medical
Corporation, Doha, State of Qatar
- Correspondence to:
Department of Epidemiology and Medical
Statistics Hamad Medical Corporation
Weill Cornell Medical College
PO Box 3050
Doha, State of Qatar
This Open Access article was originally
published in Croat Med J. 2010 February;
51(1): 85–88. doi: 10.3325/
cmj.2010.51.85 © 2010 by the Croatian
Medical Journal. All rights reserved.
It is republished here under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted non-commercial use,
distribution, and reproduction in any
medium, provided the original work is
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Available from: http://www.hmc.org.qa/hmcnewsite/news.aspx?id=613
Ebn Sina Medical celebrates 40th anniversary
Since its foundation in 1971, Ebn Sina Medical,
branch of Aamal Q.S.C. has maintained a pioneering
position in the medical and healthcare sector in
Qatar. Ebn Sina Medical specialises in the distribution
and marketing of pharmaceuticals, medical
equipment, hospital sundries, dental, laboratory and
diagnostics as well as skin care, foot care and
medicated cosmetics. It represents a considerable
number of the world’s leading names in the sector. Ebn Sina’s wholesale activities are carried out
through a purpose-built warehouse and distribution
centre which is staffed by qualified professionals and
equipped with the latest in storage, preparation and
distribution systems. On the retail side, Ebn Sina
Medical manages a network of six modern pharmacies,
two foot care centres and one Bottega Verde
shop. All outlets are situated in key locations in Doha
offering customers excellent services in all aspects of general
health and wellbeing.
“Ebn Sina Medical always considers itself as a strategic
partner in developing the health sector of Qatar, following the
inspiration from H.H. the Emir’s vision for 2030,” Eman Bader,
general manager of Ebn Sina Medical said un reference to
company’s participation at Qatar Health 2010 as the main
sponsor of the event. Ebn Sina Medical, in cooperation with its
partners, presented the most innovative and up-to-date products
and technologies. The company introduced different medicines
for cancer treatment as well as the latest technology in
wound care management which help patients with less pain
during dressing change and significantly faster healing. In the
radiology sector, Ebn Sina Medical showcased the newest technologies in medical
imaging, particularly the future use of cellular
and molecular imaging.
In the field of consumer health, Ebn Sina Medical showcased
unique oral care products from leading brands like Gum and
WaterPik, as well as innovative products like a chair massager
and foot invigorator from Scholl.
Skin care lines presented at Qatar Health 2010 included NUXE, Collin, BcomBIO, Tyra and Placentor among others. Ebn
Sina Medical is well-known for its selected international brands
offering customers a variety of unique product lines.
Qatar Health 2010 was fitting venue and occasion to launch
the company’s 40th birthday celebrations. This significant milestone
for the organisation is celebrated throughout the year with
Shafallah Medical Genetics Center
Towards the delineation of previously unknown inherited autosomal recessive
disorders and the identification of the responsible genes
Congenital Malformations and Mendelian
Diseases are currently recognised as the
principal cause of infant mortality in the
United Arab Emirates, and the second
leading cause in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman
and Qatar. Mendelian monogenic
diseases result from modifications in a
single gene occurring in all cells of the
body. Though relatively rare, they affect
approximately 10/1000 of the population
worldwide. It tends to have serious clinical
manifestations, high morbidity and early
mortality, and primarily affect the paediatric
population. The single gene or
monogenic diseases can be classified into
three main categories; autosomal dominant;
autosomal recessive; and X linked.
Autosomal recessive diseases are the single
largest category of single gene disorders.
Recessive diseases occur due to mutation
in both gene copies, or alleles. Parents of
children with autosomal recessive disorders
are almost always carriers.
Furthermore, It is noted that an unusually
high number of patients with autosomal
recessive disorders born to consanguineous
parents. A consanguineous marriage is
most commonly defined as a union
between a couple related as second cousins or closer. In theory, first cousins
of all their alleles, and second cousins
share 1/32 of all their alleles. Descendants
of consanguineous parents inherit half of
these common alleles. The assembly of
two rare mutated alleles is therefore more
frequently observed in descendants from
consanguineous parents compared to
descendants from unrelated parents. The
prevalence of consanguineous marriage in
the Middle Eastern countries including
Qatar is relatively high. This inevitably
leads to an increase in the rate of homozygotes
for autosomal recessive genetic
Several publications on genetic disorders
among Arab populations list more
than a hundred new genetic syndromes
reported over the past two decades. Of
these, about 85% syndromes are autosomal
recessive. Many of these disorders
are yet to be defined. The number of
causative genes for autosomal recessive
disorders that are yet to be discovered is
most likely in the thousands.
One of the current research projects at
the Shafallah Medical Genetics Center
(SMGC) is the delineation of previously
unknown inherited autosomal recessive disorders and the identification of the
responsible genes and the genetic variations
that contribute to the risk of developing
these syndromes, as well as the
study of their function. The strategy of
choice for identification of these genes is
homozygosity mapping in extended
consanguineous families, followed by
mutation screening of candidate genes.
This study is of considerable consequence.
It provides the means for the
discovery of new and specific tests that
will help with carrier identification,
counselling, and prenatal or preimplantation
diagnosis. Besides its direct scientific
significance, this study allows for the
establishment of high calibre
bench research techniques in laboratories
within a Qatari institution. It
provides valuable opportunities for
capacity building in the fields of
disease related human genetics. The
study plan allows for the development of
scientific and technical skills by
providing experience in molecular
biology techniques, as well as guidance
toward scientific thinking to a group of
young trainees, students and technical
College of the North Atlantic
College of the North Atlantic – Qatar Celebrates Second
College of the North Atlantic – Qatar’s School of Health
Sciences was recently awarded Provisional Accreditation by the
Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs
(CCAPP). This status, the highest accreditation level possible,
was granted to the Pharmacy Technician Program and is the first
and only International Accreditation awarded by CCAPP.
The two year process culminated with an on-site visit by the
Canadian accreditation team in December 2010 after which they
provided an overwhelmingly positive verbal report where they
stated that CNA-Q’s Pharmacy Technician program could be
rated amongst the best in Canada.
This is the second accreditation for the
School of Health
Sciences in the past six months. In October 2010, the
Respiratory Therapy program was accredited by the Council on
Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Education (CoARTE).
As with the Pharmacy Technician program, the accreditation is
the first international accreditation granted by CoARTE.
“These accreditations attest to many great things going on at
CNA-Q. It attests to our facilities and equipment which are
second to none; to our industry responsive curriculum and
programs; to the dedication and expertise of faculty and staff of
CNA-Q; to our great partnerships with private sector partners and
of course it attests to the quality of our students,” said Dr. Ken
MacLeod, President, College of the North Atlantic – Qatar.
University of Calgary
– Qatar provides world class training for nurses
The University of Calgary – Qatar has been offering a Bachelor of
Nursing Degree programme in Doha for almost five years. It turned
out its first batch of nursing degree graduates in 2010, enriching the
Qatar healthcare system with 24 highly trained nurses.
There are 111 students presently enrolled at the university, 26
of which are Qatari. Part-time studies and preparatory foundation programmes are being offered with the regular nursing
programme and a post diploma bachelor of nursing programme at
the Canadian university.
“We’re very pleased with the growth in our student population.
It illustrates the popularity and respect the nursing profession is
experiencing in Qatar,” said Dr Carolyn Byrne, Dean and CEO,
University of Calgary – Qatar.
A part-time Studies Program was started early in 2011. It
allows nurses who are working in the healthcare system in Qatar
to upgrade their credentials to a nursing degree.
UCQ’s high-tech Clinical Simulation Learning Centre
(CSLC) is equipped with some of the most sophisticated
teaching resources available world-wide. A family of highfidelity
simulators that mimic the anatomical workings of a
human body are available to students. Every possible medical
scenario from critical and acute care to maternity and newborn assessments is
created. The students are able to provide treatment
and care without fear of mistakes. It helps build confidence
that becomes invaluable in real life. The scenarios are recorded
and debriefing sessions are held giving students feedback on their
care-giving decisions and technique.
UCQ has received over US$1 million in research funding.
Through the generosity of the State of Qatar residents will
benefit from the discoveries made in a variety of subjects
including breast cancer screening practices of Qatari women,
breast feeding practices and strengthening primary healthcare
nursing in Qatar.
of upload: 10th Jul 2011