Qatar’s healthcare system must address the prevalence of chronic diseases and their underlying risk factors. Thus it needs to move beyond treating the acutely ill and address healthcare at the prevention stage. This requires a fundamental shift in mindset, accompanied by a reallocation of resources. The aim is to embed prevention and early intervention into every aspect of the health system and to empower the people of Qatar to be active participants in self-care, prevention, and maintaining wellness.
The following are the identified projects for the NHS 2011–2016 required to achieve this goal:
Public Health Governance
- Generate an enhanced prevention strategy enabled by a robust governance system for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of individual prevention initiatives.
- Engage a high-profile international expert as a prevention champion who can be a visible symbol of transformation and drive system change. The prevention champion should be supported by a national preventive health task force and the MoPH Department of Public Health.
Chronic and Communicable Disease Prevention
- Execute a focused set of evidence-based programmes to prevent chronic and communicable diseases within the following projects:
- Nutrition and Physical Activity
- Tobacco Cessation
- Consanguinity Risk Reduction
- Communicable Disease Prevention
- National Screening Programme for high-priority diseases (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and breast cancer)
- Qatar must improve health and safety conditions across all sectors, with particular focus on the population of male labourers, given that workplace injuries are the third highest cause of accidental deaths.
- National occupational health standards must be developed, and occupational health policies and regulations must be enforced.
Women and Child Health
- The health challenges that women face are different from those of men because of social and economic distinctions as well as dissimilarities in the prevalence of diseases and risk factors. Qatar needs a comprehensive women’s health programme that targets the health challenges unique to women.
- The programme should identify priority areas for women’s health. In the immediate future the programme must address screening of women’s specific diseases, as well as the particular issues such as postpartum depression, and the health impact of domestic violence.
- There must also be programmes and strategies dedicated to child health. These should include promotion of exclusive breast-feeding (BF) and early nutrition guidance, enhanced prenatal care services, and continuing the successes of national childhood vaccination.
Additional public health programmes: Road Safety, Food Safety, Emergency Preparedness, and Environmental Health
- In select public health areas, there are overlapping activities among multiple stakeholders, and coordination with other government bodies must be improved to avoid duplication and ensure there are no gaps in current services.