Liver recipient Ashraf Zaid and donor (his nephew) Usama Zaid, with HMC Medical Director Dr. Yousef Al Maslamani.

Surgeons at Hamad General Hospital have successfully performed the nation’s first liver transplant from a living donor.

Usama Taher Zaid donated a piece of his liver to his uncle in November, saying: “The love and compassion bestowed on me by my uncle following the death of my father prompted me to give him the gift of life.”

The 26-year-old spent about a week in the hospital following his eight-hour surgery.

The recipient, 58-year-old Ashraf Zaid, was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2014 while living in Qatar.


HMC Transplant team

When he found out he needed a transplant, he traveled to his home country of Egypt in search of a donor, as his son was not a match.

In a statement, he said:

“While in Egypt, I received a call from Hamad General Hospital advising that a donor was found and I had to return to Doha. Upon arrival in Doha, I was surprised to find out that the donor was my nephew.”

Zaid’s surgery lasted about 12 hours and involved two weeks of recovery time, Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) said.

Expanding care

Qatar has been improving its organ transplant offerings in recent years, in a bid to discourage medical tourism abroad for safety reasons.

Currently, living donors can give a kidney or part of a liver (usually to a relative), or organ donations can be made after death.

Organ Donation Research Consortium

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the moment, Qatar transplants livers and kidneys and is also working on procedures for pancreas transplants.

The growing population means there is a waitlist for people in need of kidneys and livers.

Signing up to be an organ donor takes only a couple of minutes and volunteers can now hand you an organ donor card on the spot.

Ethical process

Qatar’s organ donation model is based on the Doha Donation Accord, which was established in 2010 and endorsed by GCC Health Ministers in 2011.

According to that agreement, all residents are eligible for access to transplant services and organs donated to wait-listed patients “without regard for citizenship, religion, gender, ethnicity, or financial status.”

The accord also outlaws the use of financial incentives for the recruitment of potential donors.

@thequint / Twitter

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

An unusual aspect of Qatar’s system is that patients on the transplant waiting list are allowed to bring to the country relatives who may be good matches but who don’t live here.

These donors would be provided with airfare to Qatar and accommodation here. There is also free of charge transplantation and donation.


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Mall of Qatar

Updated at 9:15pm with statement from Mall of Qatar

Thousands of people crowded into the Mall of Qatar this morning for the grand opening of popular electronics store Sharaf DG.

But after hours of waiting to take advantage of some doorbuster deals, they were turned away, as authorities canceled the launch over safety concerns.

In a statement, the store said that over 20,000 people had shown up for the official opening.

It apologized for the inconvenience caused by the cancelation of the launch and added that promotions would be released “in a staggered manner over the next few days.”

Though the store was closed today, it has been open since last month. Today was only expected to be its grand launch.

Meanwhile, MOQ echoed Sharaf DG’s concerns about safety.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, it said the promotion was canceled due to an “overwhelming number of visitors to the store that exceeded the number of people permitted by guidelines and was, as such, deemed unsafe.”

Did anyone go to MOQ today? Thoughts?

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016

From checking out Qatar’s annual Spring Festivals to cheering on triathlon participants to visiting Katara’s Magical Festival Village, there’s lots to do around town this weekend.

Here are our picks:

Spring festivals

The annual Souq Waqif Spring Festival opens tomorrow, Jan. 19, and runs through Feb. 3.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016

One of the festival offerings will include Kingdom of Snakes at the Al Rayyan Theater. The show runs from Jan. 20 until the end of the festival and tells the story of a princess who gets kidnapped by a villain.

Regular tickets cost QR70 and QR100, while VIP tickets cost QR250.

Timings for the show and the festival have yet to be announced, but in previous years it ran from 3:30pm to 10pm daily.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

Souq Wakrah

Souq Wakrah is also hosting a Spring Festival starting tomorrow. It runs through Feb. 13 and will include entertainment and games for children, according to the Qatar Tribune.

Magical Festival Village

Head over to Katara’s souq-themed recreational area Magical Festival Village for a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs show starting this Thursday, Jan. 19.

Fantasyland Station / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The show will take place at the festival’s Teatro, located on the Katara beachfront. Snow White runs from Jan. 19-22, and Jan. 25-30. Shows will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

Ticket prices range between QR100 and QR350, and can be purchased here.

The festival will run until April 30 and will feature other shows including The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin.

Doha Triathlon 2017

The first-ever Doha Triathlon will take place this Friday, Jan. 20 at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and The Corniche.

Qatar Chain Reaction

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The triathlon will run from 7am until noon and is open to all athletic levels.

The race will feature a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run along with a Sprint triathlon that includes a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run.

For more information, visit the Doha Triathlon website.

Mosque tour

A free tour of the beautiful Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies mosque at Qatar Foundation will be held on Jan. 20 from 3:30 to 6:30pm.

Ray Toh / Doha News

QFIS on Eid Al Fitr 2016

The event is being hosted by the Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid Al-Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar). It includes an introduction to Islam, as well as “insight into a part of life in Qatar that seems obscure.”

To take part in the tour, meet at Fanar at 3pm. More information about the event can be found here.

Extreme desert show

Local eco-tourism company 365 Adventures Qatar is hosting an afternoon of dune-bashing, sunset watching and food this Friday between 1:30pm and 4:30pm.

Toyota Qatar

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The event will take place at both Sealine and Khor Al Udayd (inland sea), and will feature three hours of dune-bashing, a 30-minute “extreme desert show” and optional swimming.

Tickets cost QR150 per person. Pick-up and drop-off services will be provided by professional off-road drivers. The meeting point will be at the Hardee’s located on Old Airport Road.

For more information on ticket bookings and payment, check out the event’s Facebook page.


  • Free film screening: In case you missed it when it premiered last month, Dari Qatar: A Film By All of Us will be playing at the MIA Park this Saturday at 7pm. The documentary features human interest pieces that incorporate the day-to-day lives of Qatar residents. The clips all allude to themes of change, diversity, hope, family, tradition and adventure, among others.

What are your plans for the weekend? Thoughts?

Adam Sherer/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Victims of child abuse may finally have an avenue to seek help in Qatar with the launch of a new program at Sidra Medical and Research Center.

The Sidra Child Advocacy Program (S-CAP) aims to take a comprehensive approach to the problem of child abuse in the country.

According to government figures, one out of every five children in Qatar are subject to abuse either at home or in school.


Photo for illustrative purposes only.

But there previously existed no clear mechanism for parents or caretakers to address this issue.

How it works

Sidra’s S-Cap response team consists of pediatric doctors, nurses, social service workers and psychiatrists. All have been trained to recognize signs of abuse, either mental or physical.

These staffers also know how to report crimes via the proper legal procedures. Sidra said they will also operate under privacy and confidentiality requirements.

The program runs through the hospital’s outpatient department, via referrals from schools, other public and private hospitals and healthcare centers.


Sidra outpatient clinic

It was developed following meetings with education, medical, legal and human rights experts last year.

In a statement, Sidra’s Division Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Khalid Mohamed Al Ansari, said:

“The S-CAP program cannot work in isolation – it is a collective responsibility. I firmly believe it is our duty to educate the public, work closely with stakeholders and build awareness of this pressing issue.

For such programs to be effective, it requires ongoing commitment from all partners to keep our children safe and to support with the healing process.”

Long time coming

Health officials have been pushing for Qatar to adopt a more comprehensive approach to child abuse for years.

They’ve said that cases often go unreported due to bureaucratic hurdles, insufficiently trained healthcare providers and a reluctance to break cultural taboos.

Alex Proimos/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

And families of victims have also complained about a lack of professional support services for such issues in Qatar.

However, some steps have been made to tackle abuse.

Last year for example, HMC said staff at the country’s Pediatric Emergency Centers have now been trained in identifying cases of abuse and violence against children.

“They will also ensure that the child and their family are directed to the right authorities so that the case is handled in the most humane and sensitive manner, without impacting on their rights or privacy,” the provider said.