• 9/7/2023
    Doha: 6 September 2023: The Qatar Rehabilitation Institute (QRI), one of the largest and most advanced rehabilitation facilities in the region, arranged activities with patients, their families and carers, in support of Spinal Cord Injury Day (SCI), which is marked annually on 5 September around the world. QRI healthcare experts wanted to raise awareness about the opportunities for people with SCI to learn to function as independently as possible and participate in their communities and enjoy a better quality of life. 

    A multidisciplinary team of experts from QRI collaborated with Hamad International Training Center to arrange a fun day out for persons with SCI and their family and carers in Qatar’s premiere mall, Place Vendôme. Thirty guests, along with family members and carers, were brought to the mall to view the Dancing Fountain's show, have dinner at CZN Burak restaurant and enjoy a range of activities arranged for them. Inpatients were selected for the outing on the basis of being deemed ready to be discharged from hospital back into the community. 

    QRI staff also set up an information stand at Place Vendôme for anyone interested to find out more about their specialized services for persons with SCI. The stand will be onsite and open to the public until Sunday 10th of September. 

    Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, Deputy Chief for Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care, Acting CEO of QRI and Medical Director of both QRI and Rumailah Hospital, explained that in recent years, there have been remarkable advancements in the field of spinal cord injury research and treatment: “Breakthroughs in medical technology, rehabilitation techniques, and neuroscientific understanding have shown promising outcomes in restoring some lost functions and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with SCI. However, this Day serves as a reminder that while challenges exist, there is hope for people to achieve optimal recovery and live a fulfilling life despite the limitations brought on by a spinal cord injury.” 

    The term ‘spinal cord injury’ refers to damage to the spinal cord resulting from trauma (such as from road traffic crash, a fall or violence) or from disease or degeneration (such as due to a tumor). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the annual global incidence to be between 40 to 80 cases per million population, and up to 90% of these cases are due to traumatic causes. 

    “I am extremely grateful to the management of Place Vendôme, who have graciously supported this important initiative. Equally important to the success of our public engagement efforts is Hamad International Training Center, whose unwavering commitment to public health and wellbeing is exemplary. I am sure that with support and determination from all stakeholders involved, we can create a world that values and supports the full inclusion and potential of individuals with spinal cord injuries. 

    Carole Sabbagha, Mall Manager at Place Vendôme, commented: "We take great pride in our ongoing partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation across diverse initiatives. 

    We are honored to host the QRI’s Spinal Cord Injury Day at Place Vendôme, offering our support to this significant program aimed at raising awareness about the condition. The impact of SCI on people’s lives makes it a cause of utmost importance for us to endorse. 

    This engagement underscores Place Vendôme’s dedication to contributing to humanitarian endeavors and extending substantial support to the community."

    Spinal Cord Injury Day provides an opportunity to celebrate these achievements and advocate for continued investment in research and innovation,” added Dr. Al-Hamad. Spinal Cord Injury Day serves as a platform to educate the public about the impact of spinal cord injuries on individuals, families, and societies. This year's theme, "Access to SCI services; a life less complicated” emphasizes the importance of access to resources, including professional rehabilitation services but also community support to facilitate reintegration into the community. 

    Dr. Sarafudheen Villan, Consultant in the SCI Unit in QRI, explained that: “The goal of our professional and highly committed multidisciplinary team is to work towards ensuring that individuals with SCI have access to the specialized services and resources they need, such as technological innovations and assistive devices that empower individuals with SCI to regain independence and perform daily tasks to the best of their abilities. A key element in every recovery journey is instilling hope and motivation in the individual and their family and that is where outings, such as having a meal in a mall, are so important.” 

    Hospitalized patients with SCI who were unable to participate in the excursion were given practical gifts, donated by Hamad International Training Center, to commemorate the Day. 

    QRI offers a variety of specialized resources and services for persons with SCI at the inpatient, outpatient and the community level. Timely and comprehensive services at every stage following a SCI lead to reintegration to the community and living a fulfilled life, regardless of nationality, age and gender. Numerous individuals with SCI in Qatar have returned to education or work and have been able to experience recreation and sporting activities as well as enjoy family life despite their condition. These individuals and their families serve as exemplary role models.