Preparations are underway to launch a new five-year plan for cancer treatment and care in Qatar this Fall.
The country’s current cancer treatment strategy expires this year, and focused on improving standards of care.
The second National Cancer Strategy 2017-21 will be unveiled in October or November this year, Gulf Times reported Lord Darzi of Denham, chairman of the National Cancer Committee as confirming yesterday during a media briefing.
Improving patient experience and providing better value-for-money for patients will be included in the new strategy, Lord Darzi said, adding that the outgoing plan has also been assessed to highlight any gaps.
The views of patients, families officials and clinicians are being gathered in the last stage of the planning process.
It will build on the previous plan, which was launched in 2011 and which has led to progress in the detection and treatment of cancer in Qatar, Lord Darzi said.
According to the Qatar Tribune, he said:
“Cancer is a curable condition if it is detected early. That’s a great achievement when it comes to awareness. Also people are willing to go through screening for breast or bowel cancer and the number of those going for screening is much higher…There is a lot to celebrate in a very short period of time.”
In recent years, Qatar’s health authorities have run a number of public awareness campaigns for cancers, such as the importance of early detection for breast cancer and monitoring children for signs of common pediatric cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, brain and bone tumors.
And advertising initiatives have aimed to break down social stigmas around cancer.
In 2012, cancer overtook traffic accidents and coronary diseases to be the number one cause of death in Qatar.
One of the priorities under the next five-year plan is construction of a new cancer hospital and the facility is currently in the design stage.
Work on the hospital had been planned to get started during the first $605 million five-year plan, but this did not occur.
Consultations on the new cancer center have been underway for a year, and patients and families will be invited to have their say on the plans, Dr. al-Hareth al-Khater, the Gulf Times reported acting chair of Hematology and Oncology at Hamad Medical Corp. as saying.
The hospital should be complete ” in the next couple of years”, Al-Khater added.
The Supreme Council of Health’s Annual Report 2014 (the latest one available), states an opening date for the hospital as 2019. This is one year later than stated in the SCH’s 2012 Annual report.