*Health minister: Qatar committed to improving care of its paediatric long-term patients and children with special needs
*105-bed Al Wakra-based centre is first of its kind in region
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani inaugurated Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)’s new Al Maha Paediatric Specialised Care Centre on Sunday morning.
The centre is the first of its kind in the region and located within Al Wakra Hospital, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reports.
Present at the opening ceremony were HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, and a number of senior health officials.
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior toured the centre's facilities, during which he was briefed on the specialised and extended care services provided by the centre for children, including those with physical and mental disabilities, according to QNA.
HE Dr al-Kuwari said Qatar’s commitment to improving the care of its paediatric long-term patients was the impetus for the development of this new purpose-built medical and rehabilitation facility.
“The Al Maha Paediatric Specialised Care Centre offers expert long-term and acute care for children with special needs. This unique centre, the first of its kind in the region, is an ideal facility designed to create a home-like environment aimed at promoting a better quality of life for children with long-term care needs. The centre reflects the achievement of one of our National Health Strategy’s key goals, which is to provide high-quality care based on international best practice standards,” she said.
The Al Maha Centre is located on the Al Wakra Hospital campus, thereby enabling fast access to this major general hospital if required, according to a press statement by HMC. The centre is spread generously over 20,000sqm of floor area, which includes a range of inpatient and outpatient areas. There are six inpatient units with 105 beds, of which 69 are private rooms, as well as 13 outpatient clinic rooms.

The beautifully designed venue, which includes gardens, recreational facilities and family areas, is the recipient of a European Healthcare Design Award and the winner of a World Architecture Award, the statement notes.
“Children have unique developmental and emotional needs and their environment, in this case a hospital, can play a significant role in responding to these needs. Our aim was to achieve a family-focused hospital design that addressed the multiple and often complex needs of these children and
their families,” said Ali al-Janahi, HMC’s acting assistant managing director and chief of Tertiary Hospitals Group. “The centre offers a paediatric healthcare environment that includes not only high-quality treatment rooms for children but also family spaces and fun areas to stimulate the children and encourage better family engagement. In addition, the centre provides family and attendant education facilities.”
"We strive to make our paediatric patients feel safer in what may otherwise have been a more intimidating clinical environment. The Al Maha Centre will help its patients and their families on their healing journey,” added al-Janahi.
The patients’ medical needs can be provided in one location, including medical, diagnostic and therapy services (such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, assistive technology, audiology services, seating and positioning and feeding and swallowing as well as psychological support and intervention). The centre also provides innovative services such as aquatic therapy, offered in a state-of-the-art multi-level hydrotherapy pool, music and art therapy, virtual reality treatment, in addition to other related services designed to provide the best opportunities adapted to the specific needs of each child.
Treatments and diagnosis are provided in 26 individual therapy rooms and four group therapy rooms, as well as three gymnasiums.
In addition to patient and family areas, the centre includes a cafeteria and mosque as well as training and conference facilities for staff professional development and family consultation purposes.

“The successful transfer of our long-term paediatric patients, many of whom are children with chronic respiratory failure requiring long-term ventilation, was due to the combined efforts of the multidisciplinary teams involved and their meticulous planning and attention to detail. Equally important was ensuring that the parents were kept informed every step of the way,” said Dr Abdulaziz al-Darwish, acting chief executive officer of Rumailah Hospital and deputy chief medical officer of HMC.
“These incredible teams of physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and support staff were dedicated to ensuring the safe and comfortable transfer of the children to their new environment. Where possible, the same professional teams transferred over with their patients as this contributed
to the overall confidence and comfort of the children and their parents,” said Dr al-Darwish.
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