His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), on Tuesday attended the opening ceremony of the fourth World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) at Qatar National Convention Centre.
This year, a record number of policymakers, health experts, and government ministers are attending the summit with over 2,000 attendees from more than 100 countries.
HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO, Qatar Foundation, HE Dr Hanan al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health and HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education were among the distinguished guests on the occasion.
Prominent international leaders at the event included Aisha Buhari, the first lady of Nigeria; Princess Muna al-Hussein and Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan and Sayyidah Dr Mona Fahad al-Said of Oman. Also in attendance were global healthcare leaders including regional directors of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Ahmed al-Mandhari, WHO director of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO director of the African Region, as well as health ministers from around the world.
His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attend the opening session of the 2018 World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH). PICTURES: AR Al-Baker/HHOPL
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser met with Dr Ahmed al-Mandhari, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, during the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) at the Qatar National Convention Center. During the meeting, they discussed ways of developing healthcare through potential collaborations.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser met with Princess Muna al-Hussein to discuss their shared efforts toward supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals and also enhance collaboration on the development of nursing capabilities to strengthen the health workforce, particularly in the Middle East.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser toured the WISH Innovation Hub, where she experienced some of the world's most innovative healthcare solutions exhibited at the summit.
HE Dr al-Kuwari opening the two-day conference said: “Harnessing new technology and maintaining highly skilled and motivated healthcare workers is key to benefiting global healthcare. Qatar’s health ranking within the Legatum Prosperity Index has risen in the past ten years, advancing from 27th in the world in 2008 to 13th place at present, and our quality of services continues to rise."
In his welcoming remarks, Prof the Lord Darzi of Denham, executive chair of WISH, said: “This unique gathering is an opportunity to confront the biggest challenges facing our health systems globally. Our distinguished speakers will share their experiences, and propose strategies to overcome the most urgent healthcare issues."
The keynote speech was delivered by David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), who announced IRC’s new agenda to treat global malnutrition.
“Acute malnutrition at such a young, critical age can permanently impair long-term cognitive and physical development. Additionally, malnutrition increases the risk of infection due to impaired functioning of the immune system, which can compound these cognitive and physical development problems. So, this isn’t just about the health and safety of children right now, this is about preventing malnutrition from robbing children the opportunity to live full, healthy, productive lives,” said Miliband.
Miliband also spoke of the vital need to invest in finding innovative and effective ways to deal with humanitarian crises at a time when more and more people are in desperate situations and are calling upon his organisation for help.
As part of a film created specially for showing during the opening ceremony, Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the USA delivered a surprise message. Speaking directly to WISH 2018 delegates, he said: “With political will, action, and commitment, we can help make a difference in people’s lives. We simply cannot stand idly by while others suffer. A healthier world is within our grasp, but we can succeed only if we are determined in our efforts.”
The key message to delegates on the first day of WISH 2018 was that collaboration across borders and disciplines, and a willingness to share innovative solutions to address the most serious global medical issues, provides the best opportunity for positive change.
Panel discussions gave delegates the opportunity to engage with experts in their fields to explore healthcare topics in depth. Topics discussed on the first day included Eye Health, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and Mental Trauma Among Combat Refugees. Delegates also had the opportunity to visit the Innovation Hub, an interactive space featuring more than 50 innovators and WISH partner exhibitors.
On the second day of the summit, delegates will hear highly-anticipated keynote addresses from record-breaking swimmer Michael Phelps, who will share a personal perspective on handling mental health challenges, and Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, who will focus on the effect of climate change on health.