Effective next month, children in Qatar who are taken to Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) clinics for treatment will only receive non-urgent medical care if they are accompanied by their parents, and not household staff, a senior doctor has said.
This means that starting April 1, public pediatric centers will not treat children who are brought in for routine or non-emergency treatment by a housemaid, nanny or driver.
The child will be given an initial examination to ensure their case is non-urgent, then will either be sent home or told to wait until a parent arrives to accompany them, said Dr. Mohammad Al Amri, assistant director of Pediatric Emergency at HMC, who was quoted in the Peninsula.
Previously, sick children who were brought to clinics by domestic staff have been seen by doctors and nurses. But Al Amri said that the aides are often unable to answer medics’ questions about a child’s medical history, allergies or other issues, which can compromise the treatment plan for the child.
A member of staff at the Pediatric Emergency Center (PEC) hotline told Doha News this morning that while emergency cases would still be dealt with, children with non-urgent conditions such as “flu, cold or runny nose would be asked to go home until their parent comes with them.”
“If it is really an emergency case, of course we will accept them. But if the child is not very sick, we won’t be able to do any investigation without their mum or dad,” the PEC representative added.
HMC runs five pediatric emergency centers in Qatar. The main center is located in Al Sadd on C-Ring Road, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other centers are located in Al Rayyan, Al Shamal and the Airport, while a center at Al Daayen is open daily, 6am to 10pm, according to HMC’s website.
The facilities provide emergency medical care for children up to the age of 14 years old, including neurological, respiratory, cardiac, hematologic, metabolic and gastrointestinal emergencies.
Trauma cases such as deep cuts or broken bones are usually assessed and then transferred to a related center, such as Hamad General Hospital’s emergency department.
This latest announcement again raises questions about the prevalence of household help in Qatar and its effect on childcare.
In many Gulf countries, children are often looked after by hired help. But the role of “nanny” is usually undertaken by women from non Arabic-speaking countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia, who officially live and work in Qatar as “housemaids.”
There are often many social, cultural and religious differences between domestic workers and their sponsors, which could impact how the child is raised.
However, without a system of state-registered childminders, breakfast clubs and after-school clubs, which are popular in other parts of the world, many working parents have no option but to hire housemaids and nannies to care for their children.
There have been repeated calls in recent years to set up workplace nurseries, as more Qatari women in particular are being encouraged to enter the workforce.
However, others argue that necessity doesn’t drive residents’ heavy reliance on nannies, housemaids, cooks and drivers, but rather the established social norm.
A Dubai-based study published two years ago showed that nearly one in five teenage school children there show elevated symptoms of depression, linked at least part of the issue to the prevalent “nanny culture.”
“A lot of kids here are raised by nannies and the nanny is the primary care giver,” she said. “I don’t know how much emotional support they’re getting … it’s probably more like putting the child in front of the TV and giving them video games,” Dr. Veena Luthra, a consultant psychiatrist at the American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology in Abu Dhabi, was quoted in The National newspaper at the time of the report being published.
To tackle this problem, Qatar recently began training women to work as professional nannies, through classes in first aid, hygiene, nutrition and children’s education.
Classes in the Arabic language, Islamic studies and Qatari culture and values are also a requirement for graduation.
Everyone here is brought up by nannies/maids. Can’t see how it will work.
That’s not true, I am a Qatari girl and I wasn’t brought up by nannies. We have housemaids to help with household chores but they didn’t ‘raise’ me. Just because you see some nannies running after kids in malls, parks, etc doesnt mean they raised them. That’s just in public places. You don’t know what happens inside the house with the parents and the kids. It’s definetly not true that nannies raise the kids. There might me some families that have jobs that doesn’t allow them to be with their kids as much as they like, so nannies spend the most time with them. But that is definetly not the majority of qataris. I am a qatari so i know how it is inside the homes of qataris. I feel like expats judge us and say that nannies raise our kids because that’s all they see in public places.
Thanks for clarifying. It seems many do. As a working mom I choose not to have one and oft feel like I’m looked down upon here. I do feel like my son should be brought up by me. It’s a personal choice.
Good on you Seema……encourage your friends and peers to also try some proper, real parenting. It’s tiring, but ultimately very rewarding.
You are absolutely right. I can’t tell you how many western expats I know who go away to Dubai for a long weekend and leave the kids with the nanny. It is unfair to only blame one group of people.
Whether the statement above is true or not, there is enough people within Qatar, of all backgrounds that seem to think its acceptable to have the nanny drop the sick kids off at the hospital. I am trying really hard to wrap my brain around a parent that would have so little concern for a child that they do this, and by that I don’t mean Qataris, I mean everyone that would allow this to happen. Its telling that HMC sees this as such a big issue that they have to institute a policy to curb it.
I wonder what has prompted HMC to implement this policy.
Is it because they got sick of ‘treating’ kids with sniffles who shouldn’t be sent to a doctor every time they sneeze?
Is it because they were being proactive and trying to implement a policy because it is medically the correct thing to do?
Or were they forced to implement this policy after they treated an unaccompanied minor, and then that parent lodged a complaint, saying that the treatment was inappropriate?
Whatever the reason, it’s a positive step forward. Any ‘parent’ too busy to take a truly sick child to the doctor needs to be publicly shamed.
If that’s the case the new rule is not necessary. But, obviously it is. So, either one is lying.
I think her point is you cannot assume it is only the locals. One of my biggest issues is that people blame only the “Land Cruisers” for causing trouble on the road. In 5 years I have NEVER been bothered by a Land Cruiser. The ones who try to mess with me are Arab expat men in late model cars, Indian drivers driving a car that could feed his entire village and Western Expat women in Range Rovers with a cell phone in one hand a Venti latte in the other hand. Stop assuming it is only happening with one particular group.
Again this is stereotyping people. It’s the arrogant personality behind the wheels that define rashness and road rage. Not specific ethnic grp or nationality.
Deleting for stereotyping.
You are really picking and choosing who gets deleted for stereotyping, aren’t you? Guest’s comment about how everyone is brought up by nannies is not stereotyping? The assumption that all maids are paid 700qr is not stereotyping?
This is Qatar. And freedom of expression is not given. And not so on Doha News.
While I may agree that in vast majority of cases it’s parents who raise children, Here it’s a tragicomedy that HMC had to issue such guidelines since parents don’t have time to accompany sick children.
Let me ask you this, if you had a job that pays you 50,000 Riyals. Would you leave that job to raise your children?
I know what happens inside the houses……overwork, underpay and occasionally mental and physical abuse.
One of my closest Qatari friends has a maid only once a day to clean the house. She raises her boys, washes their clothes, cooks their dinners and drives them to school. You cannot say “everyone” as that is stereotyping.
There’s a certain (well known) family here whose (very well known) matriarch told her sons and daughters that despite their vast wealth and practically unrivaled social status in Qatar, that the mothers were to raise their kids themselves, and not use nannies.
Can you guess who I’m referring to?
A very wise woman.
If this is true then I have nothing but the utmost respect for her.
I just wish it wasn’t kept a secret. It is a great example that many many families ought to be following.
If you want to wonder why your kids don’t speak Arabic, don’t like Arabic food, don’t like wearing Arabic clothing, etc, it’s not because of “all the expats” in the country, it might be because of “all the expats” living in your home, and spending more time with your kids than you do.
Kudos. Many expats I know don’t do that.
Hey, get your own username
This article and the one I read in the paper only mentions that the nannies may not know their medical history. What about the fact that a child needs it’s MOM when they are sick. Men in battle who are dying cry for their mothers- not their previous nanny. This truly is sad that even when a child is sick and scared, the parent hands them off to a nanny.
Nanny, if they are lucky. Most nannies can’t drive and don’t have a car. For a lot of kids they aren’t even fortunate enough to go with their nanny (who, in their eyes, is their primary care giver). They instead get thrown into the car with the driver.
I’ve given up trying to understand ‘parents’ whose idea of being rich and privileged is to spend less, and not more, time with their kids.
You are implying that the Moms and Dads are ‘professional’ parents. I can’t see that though.
That’s going to far. If they don’t even have the time to bring their ill children to center, that’s basically child abuse.
These are people who shouldn’t have children at all.
Kids who are not accompanied by they parents must feel really special
Does this mean my 2 year old son can no longer go alone for his routine checkups? He likes to be independent!
……and underpaid nannies also. Sad things they are paid only 700 QR to 1000 QR. Modern Slavery
The fact that the opening statement says “accompanied by parents, not household staff” is hilarious. How does a heart of a human accept to leave their child in bad health? and on top of that let the maid take the kid to the hospital and on top of that the Hospital had to issue a rule about it. This is a major responsibility failure, I never thought people would be greedy to this extent that they would run after money and not have any empathy for their own children… WoW! really going in the right direction!
My thoughts exactly.How can one not be there if their child goes to the Doctor?
Thank you very much for giving me the chance
to make comment in your useful website . We are in media vision company the official publisher of qatar health and medical directory always got benifits through following the information coming from your artickes. Attached to the matter of your article attached is the link to complete list of all pediatric doctors in qatar health and medical directory