Qatar participated in the two-day World Heart Summit, which concluded in Geneva Sunday.

HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari led Qatar’s delegation to the summit. In a ministerial panel discussion at the summit entitled ‘Closing the gap in Universal Health Coverage and health financing for CVD’ (cardiovascular disease), Her Excellency highlighted Qatar’s approaches and strategies in the field, affirming Qatar’s ironclad commitment to universal health coverage, as well as prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases.

Her Excellency pointed out that the average life expectancy in Qatar has increased to 80.4 years, indicating progress in healthcare services and infrastructure, however, she said, the burden of cardiovascular diseases is increasing due to unhealthy lifestyles such as obesity, low physical activity levels, and tobacco use, which collectively contribute to the occurrence and spread of cardiovascular diseases among a population.

In recognition of the urgent need to address cardiovascular health, Qatar has implemented comprehensive national health strategies and measures. One of the most notable is the designation of a National Sports Day, an initiative established by an Amiri decision in 2011 to make physical activity a daily practice for the community, reflecting the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and his strong commitment to the health of Qatar’s population, Dr al-Kuwari highlighted.

She said that Qatar has strengthened the public transport system, created bicycle lanes, and established air-conditioned parks to facilitate physical activity even during the hot summer months.

“In Qatar, a prominent initiative that contributes to addressing the risks of cardiovascular diseases is the introduction of indirect taxes on tobacco and unhealthy beverage products. The tax aims to reduce consumption and promote healthy lifestyle choices. These financial measures are complemented by targeted public health campaigns and community interventions. This includes the successful launch of the Healthy City programme to all our municipalities, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation,” she said.

Dr al-Kuwari emphasised the need to intensify efforts at both the national and global levels to address the root causes of cardiovascular diseases and related mortalities, adding that through enhanced co-operation, innovation, and evidence-based interventions, the way can be paved for a healthier future for generations to come.

She affirmed that Qatar has invested in modern healthcare infrastructure, with the current network comprising 31 primary healthcare centres under the Primary Health Care Corp (PHCC), and four additional centres managed by the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), in accordance with an agreement with the MoPH, highlighting that the network meets the healthcare needs of the entire population. Additionally, specialised hospitals provide advanced healthcare services and conduct research on cardiovascular diseases.

Dr al-Kuwari pointed out that the Heart Hospital in Qatar provides advanced health services to cardiac patients free of charge, regardless of their nationality. The hospital’s exemplary track record in delivering record-breaking treatment outcomes underscores Qatar’s strong commitment to equitable access that ensures all residents receive high-quality healthcare.

The panel discussion brought together health ministers from several countries around the globe to share successful, effective strategies and programmes to expand the scope of universal health coverage to better combat cardiovascular diseases.

The ministers also discussed shared challenges, potential solutions, and funding models, in addition to exploring technological advancements and innovations in healthcare and their role in providing improved universal health coverage and care for those affected by cardiovascular disease.
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