The Minister of Public Health, H E Dr. Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari, stated in her speech at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva that Qatar, under the wise leadership of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was able to successfully address the challenges of COVID-19 due to a comprehensive, whole-government, whole-society approach.
The Minister noted that with a balanced scientific approach to public health measures, Qatar was able to protect the population’s health and the economy’s prosperity from the pandemic’s devastation, enabling a safe and smooth return to normal life.
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic shows that health security is a shared responsibility and that global collaboration, data sharing, and solidarity are essential to ensuring global health and well-being.
Dr. Al Kuwari commended the WHO for leading global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic since its start, while also promoting health security, universal health care, and the WHO’s overall work agenda.
Dr. Al Kuwari stated that health systems must not be weakened or threatened during these trying times and that we must all work together to defeat this pandemic and prepare for the next public health challenge, whether caused by a communicable disease, growing non-communicable disease threats, or man-made disasters such as wars and conflicts; thus, this year’s theme ‘Health for Peace, Peace for Health’ is appropriate.
Dr. Al Kuwari emphasised the significance of strong health systems with a strong primary care foundation and competent health care personnel, stating that the Qatar National Vision 2030 prioritises health and education, resulting in large health spending. As a result, the capacity of Qatar’s healthcare system has more than doubled.
In addition, Qatar has made substantial investments in professional medical personnel, technology, and disaster preparedness. Qatar has one of the world’s lowest COVID-19 death rates, and the patience and dedication of Qatar’s exceptional health workers have contributed to a global scientific understanding of COVID-19 through the publication of local data and conclusions in top journals and publications.
According to Dr. Al Kuwari, Qatar’s internal policies and international cooperation prioritise global health security and universal health care. Qatar and WHO agreed to a ten-million-dollar gift to the WHO’s thirteenth programme of operations, as well as steps to speed up access to crucial materials needed in the fight against COVID-19. This is in addition to prior payments provided to WHO and other organisations for COVID-19 in order to minimise disruptions in crucial services.
She stated that Qatar had recently signed a Sport and Health Collaboration Agreement with WHO, in which FIFA was a participant. The purpose is to use the FIFA World Cup in Qatar to promote physical and mental health, leaving a legacy of knowledge and learning about safe and healthy large-scale sporting events to be shared with future event organisers.