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Building new relationships in the Middle East

Blog 5 December 2014

Dr Paul Fogarty, RCOG Senior Vice President (Global Health), writes…

SidraAs part of our Global health strategy, launched a year ago, the RCOG has identified the Gulf region as a priority for sustainable growth and this week I visited Qatar with many of my colleagues to attend the first event the RCOG has supported there.

Qatar is a small country with a population of around 1.8 million, however, it is very influential and is developing rapidly.

The Sidra Medical and Research Center, is the first of its kind to be set up in the Middle East. It will offer ground breaking research, education and healthcare for women and children locally and across the Gulf region. It will focus on world-class patient care, medical education and biomedical research.

The Center is supported by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, which is driving the advancement of education and research in Qatar.

We are delighted as a College to be working with them and it is a great opportunity for us to get involved in the development of a brand new institution there.

The symposium, held by the Sidra Medical and Research Center and supported by us, was a great success with over 450 delegates attending.

There was lots of discussion around the Qatar Healthcare Strategy and the shift from treating illness to the importance of preventative measures and the need to improve people’s health and fitness. This is very much in chime with the RCOG’s approach and we have been advocating for the life-course approach to healthcare for some time here in the UK.

We also held an Admissions Ceremony in Qatar where thirty-three RCOG members were elevated to the Fellowship, including Dr Lolwa Mohd AI Alansari, the first female Qatari member to become a Fellow of the College.

Following the success of this event, the RCOG is keen to develop its Advanced Training Skills Modules (ATSMs) in Qatar and also look into more services for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for its members there and doctors coming from the UK to work there.

SidraWe currently have International Representative Committees (IRCs) in Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and a Liaison Group for Iraq. We are keen to build on our links with Qatar and the whole of the Gulf region and I’m very pleased to report that a shadow IRC has now been formed in Qatar.

We are keen to build on our links with the whole of the Gulf region and to this end we recently ran a course in obstetric emergency training with The PROMPT Maternity Foundation (PMF) in Dubai. PROMPT stands for practical obstetric multi-professional training and is an obstetric emergencies training package which aims to reduce preventable harm to mothers and their babies and next year we are hoping to do the same in both Iraq and Kuwait.

We have achieved a huge amount over the last 12 months but have lots more to do. I look forward to meeting more colleagues from across the region who are all working towards the same goal, improving health for women and their families.

Read more about our Gulf development project here.