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Neuroscience, cardiovascular institutes to open in 2 years.

LANI ROSE R DIZON DOHA EFFORTS towards transforming Qatar's healthcare sector into an Academic Health System, the first in the region, are now bearing fruits. Tangible advances are being made towards the establishment of 'virtual' institutes for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neuroscience in the country, health experts said here on Tuesday.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of the final day of the first Association of Academic Health Centres International MENA meet in Doha, Professor Edward Hillhouse, chief of Scientific, Academic and Faculty Affairs at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) said that the new, specialised 'virtual' institutes will serve as hubs of clinical, education, and research activities while delivering patient-centred 'bench to bedside' approach for the translation of research into practical benefits for the patients.

He said the Neuroscience Institute will be fully functional in 12-18 months and will focus on epilepsy, brain injury, and mood disorders.

Epilepsy is a common health problem in Qatar with around 2,000 new epilepsy cases treated at the HMC every year. Also, epilepsy affects about 700 children in the country, an HMC official revealed recently.

"The second focus of the Neuroscience Institute would be brain injury, particularly stroke after traumatic brain injury. Lastly, it would focus on mood disorders, which is particularly common among women who have just had babies", added Hillhouse.

According to Hillhouse, new institutes for diet, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases were in the pipeline with the Cardiovascular Institute expected to be fully functional in 18 months to two years' time.

"We call them virtual because at the moment there are no plans to build a single building to house all the disciplines.

In due course, as we build new hospitals, we hope to incorporate the institutes into single facility.

If we can bring all the neuroscience people into one facility, either within a building or within a hospital, it would be better for the patient", he remarked.

"The patients will be able to access all the facilities that they need easily as they will be concentrated in one area. At the moment we cannot do that because some of the neurosurgery branches, for example, are located away from neurology and psychology wings.

Eventually, the plan is to bring them all together and fit the healthcare around the patient," Hillhouse added.

According to him, the HMC has already appointed an internationally renowned cancer specialist from Europe as new director for the National Centre for Cancer Care and Research, while two outstanding candidates from North America are still being observed for the director's position at the Neuroscience Institute.

"The new institutes, developed in tandem with the National Health Strategy, will underpin the state-ofthe- art Translational Research Institute which will open in 2015. This research emphasis has also involved reaching out to world class international partners focusing on areas including personalised medicine, women's health, obesity, and diabetes," he added.

Also present during the event were HMC Medical Education Director Dr Abdullatif AlKhal, Dr Steven A Wartman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Academic Healthcare Centers, and HMC Media Director Hassan al Hail.

Focused on using education and research to improve healthcare delivery, Qatar's Academic Health System is a partnership between the HMC, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Qatar University, University of Calgary-Qatar, College of the North Atlantic Qatar, Sidra Medical and Research Centre, and the Primary Health Care Corporation.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Mar 20, 2013
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