Dr Jose Tiongco. Right, Greg Loayon. PICTURES: Nassar TK.
By Peter Alagos
Executives from a Philippine-based medical group have met with prominent members of the Qatari business community to explore the prospects of a Filipino hospital in Qatar, an official of the Philippine Business Council-Qatar (PBC-Q) said on Wednesday.
The team was led by Dr Jose Tiongco, chief executive officer of the Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Co-operative Philippines (MMGHHSCP), who said the planned joint venture would be “the first-of-its-kind in Qatar.”
PBC-Q chairman Greg Loayon said the project follows the “co-operative concept” in the Philippines where members of the Filipino community here could be stakeholders in the business.
“It is a concept that is quite different in the medical field because it’s a co-operative hospital. The premise for this hospital is a combination of Qatari capital and Filipino medical expertise,” Loayon told Gulf Times.
Loayon said Qatari partners will infuse the capital for the land and/or hospital building, while the management and staff will comprise Western-educated Filipino doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.
“Filipinos are worldwide exporters of medical services from doctors to nurses, and these are the kind of services we want to bring here,” Loayon pointed out.
Asked about the viability of the project, Loayon explained: “The co-operative concept creates loyalty among stakeholders; there is patronage to hospital services regardless of its location in Qatar.”
Speaking to a select group of leaders from various Qatar-based Filipino organisations at the Philippine embassy on Wednesday, Tiongco described the more than 200,000 -strong Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) here as a “strong financial force.”
A study conducted by Tiongco’s group revealed that Qatar has a shortage of around 2,700 to 3,000 hospital beds.
But Loayon said Qatar's government "wants to raise the level of its health industry, hence the country’s expansion of medical facilities, and its focus on the national health insurance system to bring health into the forefront of Qatar".
“Aside from Filipinos, the hospital project will also open its doors to other expats who would like to have a level of care that they can expect from a Filipino health professional.
“From a social responsibility perspective, this is one large part of the population that we are able to service; this collaboration with Qatari investors is a way of giving back to a demographic group that has contributed to the development of Qatar,” Loayon stressed.
He added that Philippine ambassador Wilfredo Santos has pledged the embassy’s support to the project.
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