The first hospital in the region dedicated to treating and researching infectious diseases has formally opened in Qatar.
The Communicable Diseases Center was inaugurated by the country’s prime minister yesterday.
It specializes in illnesses such as Tuberculosis (TB), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), measles, hepatitis, influenza, leprosy and HIV, Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) said in a statement.
The CDC will also host Qatar’s first travel clinic, which will give vaccinations and preventative information for people traveling overseas. Additionally, it will provide post-travel treatment for those returning to Qatar with illnesses.
That clinic is scheduled to open in January 2017.
The center is situated next to the new Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City – a QR2.4 billion medical complex on a 227,000 square meter site in Rumaila (central Doha).
The complex was originally supposed to open in 2014, but has faced many delays.
What is the center?
The 9,000 square meter hospital has 65 single bedrooms, which can be converted into isolation units in the case of serious pandemics.
Each of the rooms has specially designed air filtration and ventilation systems to help patients whose immune systems have been compromised.
A fresh air exchange feature prevents any cross-contamination between rooms, HMC added.
As well as in-patient facilities, the CDC also has outpatient clinics. Services include pre-marriage counseling and education for people who have infectious diseases.
To speed up delivery of medication to patients, the center will have an automated pharmacy.
HMC opened its one of its first “robot pharmacies” at Hamad General Hospital in March this year.
This can deliver up to 1,200 prescriptions an hour. In comparison, human pharmacists can give out some 1,800 prescriptions during an entire day.
As well as treating and advising patients, the center will also conduct research, with specialist teams collecting and analyzing data on infectious diseases.
Qatar’s public health minister Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, who is also managing director of HMC, said:
“This new CDC will provide a dedicated facility for the identification and treatment of infectious diseases in Qatar, giving patients direct access to the most advanced treatment options available.”
It will also be a teaching center, used to train medical staff on how to better diagnose and treat infectious diseases, said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, deputy chief medical officer and head of infectious diseases at HMC.
New medical city
The center’s opening precedes the upcoming launch of three hospitals in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City.
In yesterday’s statement, HMC added that four new hospitals are expected to open in Qatar in “the next six months.”
It did not say which these would be, but earlier this year pledged to launch some seven hospitals by the end of next year.
These include the medical city’s Women’s Wellness and Research Center, Ambulatory Care Center and the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute.
Additionally, three hospitals dedicated to the treatment and care of blue-collar male expats will open in the coming year.
These will be in Doha’s Industrial Area, Al Khor and Mesiaeed.