Al Hemaila Center


Al Hemaila Center

A new comprehensive healthcare facility has opened to expat men who live and work in the Industrial Area.

The Al Hemaila Medical Center, located at Street 41, can accommodate up to 24,000 patient visits a month, according to QNA.

Its launch comes at a time when low-income workers, many of whom are housed in labor camps far from Doha, are having a hard time accessing health care in Qatar.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Brian Candy/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Officially inaugurated yesterday, the center offers cardiology, dentistry, ophthalmology and radiology services, as well as inpatient facilities.

Al Hemaila also includes sections for acute cases, minor surgeries and bandage, laboratory, pharmacy and triage.

More facilities needed

The facility was built by the Private Engineering Office and is being run by the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) under an agreement with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).

In a statement, QRCS’s executive director Fahad bin Mohammed Al Naimi said the opening of the center shows Qatar’s commitment to the welfare of its workers, who account for the largest segment of society.

Lacking access to private health insurance, thousands of low-income expats often go to ERs at state hospitals to seek help.

This in turn has put a strain on public hospitals in Qatar. There, emergency doctors often treat people for minor injuries or chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

J. Zach Hollo

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In 2014, HMC’s emergency department director suggested more clinics and GP-type surgeries be built to help take ease the pressure off the ER.

According to QNA, this is the second health center to open for workers this year. The Mesaimeer Health Center launched in May and operates under the Primary Health Care Corp.

Meanwhile, construction of three hospitals purpose-built for Qatar’s blue-collar workforce has slipped about two years behind schedule. They are now expected to open sometime in 2017.


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Recalled products


Recalled products

Customers who are allergic to almonds or hazelnuts, take note: Ikea has announced a recall of six of its chocolate products this week.

The Swedish homegoods store has already announced the same move in Canada and the UK, after complaints that it didn’t properly warn customers the products contained nuts.

On Twitter, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) said the recalled products in Qatar include:

  • Choklad Lingon & Bladar 180g (chocolate with lingon/blueberry flavor);
  • Choklad Ljus Utz 100g (milk chocolate bar);
  • Choklad Not Utz 100g (milk chocolate bar with hazelnut);
  • Godis Chokladkrokant 450g (milk chocolate with butterscotch);
  • Godis Chokladran 168g (chocolate filled wafers); and
  • Chokladkrokant Bredbar 400g (chocolate butterscotch spread).

Not enough warning

Earlier this week, Ikea also recalled dark chocolate bars Choklad Mork 60% and Choklad Mork 70% in other countries because the label did not point out that the products may contain milk and hazelnuts.


Yassan Yukky / Flickr


In a statement, the company said:

“The presence of hazelnut and almond has been frequently and not only occasionally detected, which underlines that these chocolate products are not suitable for consumption by those who are allergic or sensitive to these allergens.

The product information does not state this frequent presence clearly enough as the product labels only state “may contain”. Therefore IKEA is recalling these products globally. The products are safe for anyone not allergic or sensitive to almond and/or hazelnut.”

It also apologized for any inconvenience.

Those who wish to return the products in Qatar do not need a receipt, and can receive a full refund.

Are you affected by the recall? Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Leaving behind their families and familiar environment, thousands of expat women move to Qatar each year with husbands or relatives who have found jobs here.

The transition is often difficult for many, Carole Astin, a British expat, was no different.

Speaking to Doha News, Astin said that when she first arrived in 2013, she battled depression and anxiety after packing her life up in Yorkshire.

Qatar Expat Women

Qatar Expat Women

Qatar Expat Women

But after realizing she might not be the only one in such a position, Astin started a Facebook page called Qatar Expat Women (QEW) to help other women settle into Doha life.

“By acknowledging this transformation and embracing it, we empower ourselves to move forward with confidence. This is exactly what I did – I changed my mindset,” Astin said.

Rejecting isolation

The goal of the group, which now has 9,000 followers on Facebook, is to bring women out of isolation at home and into a community of supportive friends.

Forming relationships with others in the same boat could help them avoid falling into depression and keep them from losing their confidence, Astin said.

Clare Jerdan, an Australian expat who moved here eight months ago, said QEW really helped her adjust to life in Qatar.

“In my country, I was defined by what I did. The transition to just being me as a human being (to) a trailing spouse was very confronting. I scrambled around trying to connect with all sorts of groups, ladies, professionals. I felt completely lost and exposed.”

However, the “change of perspective” that came with being a part of the group helped make this transition easier for her.

QEW holds regular events, including meals, water sport activities, desert trips and more.

Women part of QEW partaking in various activities.

via Carole Astin

Women part of QEW partaking in various activities.

These activities also aim to help women better understand how to respect and embrace local culture, Astin said.

One of the ways the group does this is to bring together Qataris and expats to share experiences.

For instance, QEW often partners with Embrace Doha on events centered around Qatari food and culture.

Astin explained:

“We can truly embrace the world here if you are proactive and get yourself out there. We live peacefully in a multicultural country and I believe that’s something to be really proud of in these times of great hardship around the world.”

Breaking down barriers

Noticing people’s tendency to group with others like themselves, Astin said people often just need a push to learn about new cultures.

Whether it is being forced to sit next to a complete stranger at dinner or attend talks by people from different countries, QEW urges its members to leave their comfort zones.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Any woman is welcome to join QEW, not just new expats.

Neeraja Sigatapu, an Indian national who has lived in Qatar for 20 years, also recently become involved with the group.

She said losing many friends due to the high expat turnover here pushed her to seek out new social groups.

Of the circles she is in, Sigatapu said that QEW was special for its multicultural and welcoming atmosphere.

“Ladies who are new to Doha can get all the support and make friends. It will help them to overcome issues related to being new in a place away from home.”

For more about QEW and upcoming events, see its website or contact Astin directly at