Delayed Sidra project aiming to be fully operational by 2015

Closeup Front Sidra View

Sidra

The much-delayed Sidra Medical and Research Center, which is focused on the care of women and children, is now aiming to be fully open to patients by 2015, spokesman Khalid Al Mohannadi has told Doha News.

The development, billed as “an ultramodern academic medical center,” was originally slated to open in 2011, and then postponed until the end of last year.

Sidra is funded by a Qatar Foundation cash endowment of $7.9 billion, the world’s largest endowment for a medical and research center.

Yesterday, QF’s new president, Saad al Muhannadi, spoke of a 2015 opening, defending the delay by saying, as reported by the Peninsula:

“A hospital is not a building, it includes services, facilities and equipment and everything should be ready for opening. Services at the Sidra are planned to be very innovative.”

Although staff recruitment has been ongoing for many months, this is the first time the hospital has committed publicly to an opening schedule since missing the 2012 deadline.

There have been hurdles, including the fact that Sidra lost its underground carpark to a fire earlier this year.

But according to spokesman Al Mohannadi, the hospital is expected to undergo a testing phase in 2014, by which time it will be fully equipped.

He added that Sidra is juggling multiple variables:

“Many factors, including conducting a proper facility commissioning, operational commissioning and most importantly, the availability of the required medical staff and specialists need to be taken into account. We are aiming to be fully operational by 2015.”

Research center

Located opposite Education City and adjacent to the Qatar National Convention Center and Qatar Science and Technology Park, Sidra aims to provide “a new standard” of healthcare to women and children alongside medical training and research.

It will initially have around 400 beds, with plans to expand to 550 beds as need grows. This extra capacity should help ease some of the strain on the country’s overcrowded public hospitals.

Although the hospital isn’t open yet, Sidra has begun hosting focus groups and conferences to discuss women’s health issues, including breastfeeding and gestational diabetes.

It has also been establishing relationships with international institutions to create a cell therapy facility and a genetic research center.

Two years ago, Sidra was the focus of a Wikileaks release, with a diplomatic cable showing that in 2008, Qatar had asked oil companies for a $1 billion donation for the center.

Thoughts?

Credit: Image courtesy of Sidra

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