• 11/1/2023
    ​Doha, 29 October 2023: Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health in Qatar, graced the inaugural ceremony of the 3rd Qatar International Geriatrics and Dementia Conference. Her presence underscores Qatar's commitment to advancing healthcare, particularly in the field of geriatrics and dementia care. HE Dr. Al Kuwari was accompanied by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Iraq HE Dr. Saleh Mahdi Al Hasnawi, and other dignitaries on 26 October 2023.

    The three-day educational conference was hosted by the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, which is operated by the Department of Geriatrics and Long-Term Care at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). The conference concluded successfully on October 28, 2023, having brought together over 800 professional attendees from local and international healthcare institutions. At the forefront of this event was a crucial focus on addressing the growing global challenges and needs for the development of age-appropriate care. 

    The scientific program delved into wide-ranging discussions on the latest international evidence-based research, as well as diagnostic and treatment options for managing geriatric syndromes and caring for individuals living with dementia. It highlighted the importance of integrated, inter-disciplinary care for older adults while also promoting the strategic healthy ageing agenda that aims to encourage the adoption of a better lifestyle in earlier life to support overall well-being later in life. This includes adopting a balanced and nutritious diet, staying physically active, getting regular health check-ups, managing stress, staying socially connected, and engaging in activities that promote cognitive function.

    Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, the Head of the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia and Deputy Chief of Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation, and Geriatrics at HMC, expressed her delight with the positive outcome of the inaugural scientific conference on geriatrics and dementia organized by the WHO Collaborating Center. “As our population continues to undergo demographic shifts with a growing aging population, it becomes crucial for us to proactively address the challenges and opportunities associated with this trend. A strategic healthy aging agenda aligns with the National Health Strategy and Qatar’s vision of a healthier and happier population. Education is an important element in supporting this agenda, which was the impetus for this conference.”

    Dr. Al Hamad went on to express her gratitude for the immense support from the Ministry of Public Health and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC). “The Ministry was instrumental in our development of the National Dementia Plan, which we launched in 2018 and are currently working on the second edition due to be published next year. 

    “We are also working closely with our primary care partners to expand the Memory Clinics, that were developed by the department of geriatrics and long-term care at HMC, in health centers around Qatar to facilitate easier access for older patients. This clinic aims to prevent and manage declines in intrinsic capacity, which refers to the physical and mental capacities that people need to be mobile, independent, and to contribute to their communities. In addition, we are planning the expansion of additional ICOPE clinics in primary care centers in the community following the success of the pilot ICOPE clinic we launched earlier this year,” added Dr. Al-Hamad.

    The Integrated Care for Older Persons (ICOPE) program is a set of evidence-based tools and guidelines for healthcare professionals to comprehensively assess and address the health of older individuals. ICOPE covers key domains such as mobility, cognition, vision, hearing, nutrition, and social participation. By promoting integrated care and early intervention, the program seeks to enable older people to maintain their autonomy and quality of life as they age.

    The conference followed a pre-conference two-day workshop on Promoting Healthy Ageing, which was organized by the WHO Collaborating Center for Healthy Ageing and Dementia, together with PHCC and World Health Organization (WHO) representatives. The workshop focused on ‘Integrated Care for Older People at the Primary Health Care (PHC) and Enhancing the Long-Term Care Continuum in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region’ and was attended by healthcare officers from the WHO EMRO region who are looking at ways to enhance the well-being of elderly individuals, their families, and the communities to which they are connected.

    The two-day multi-regional workshop is aligned with the United Nations (UN) Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) and the Healthy Ageing Collaborative (HAC), which serves as a platform dedicated to enhancing partnerships across various sectors and stakeholders with the goal of championing the cause of healthy ageing.