World Innovation Summit for Health "WISH" 2015

Doha, 17 May 2015


As-salamu alaykum
(Peace be upon you)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you back to Doha, and I applaud your continued commitment and contribution to the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH).

I am happy to welcome representatives from over 20  countries around the world, and I hope that before you leave, you will take away three things from here: First, I hope that you will learn about innovations that can improve your health systems when you get home. Second, I hope that you will build networks of friends and colleagues in other health systems. And third, I trust that you will leave here with the confidence that WISH remains a benchmark in the advancement of health care and health policy.

As we reconvene at WISH, we are joined by our commitment to tackle the various challenges facing healthcare today. But, we will not succeed in finding effective solutions if we do not prioritize health and if we do not prioritize education.

Innovation in education leads to innovation in health… they are intrinsically linked. Any attempt at developing basic education without developing primary healthcare, and vice versa, will fail to deliver results in either areas. Health and education must be indivisible when we are promoting development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Statistics indicate that there are at least a billion people each year with no access to necessary health services. Two hundred and fifty million of them are devastated by the financial consequences of paying for these services. Against the backdrop of such dangerous statistics, the WISH conference brings together decision-makers, partners, scientists and experts to help change our global health reality - one that works towards a greater ambition. An ambition that goes beyond providing basic health service and towards providing quality health coverage for every human, wherever they may be.

In doing so, we would be enabling basic human rights, which we should not only talk about, but implement. Given that healthcare is at the heart of human rights, it is our moral responsibility to facilitate and ensure access for all.

However, the concern that we and many across the world share is not just limited to providing healthcare for all, but also in tackling what we are experiencing from sudden emergences of serious diseases and new epidemics. Much of the debate around these diseases is about the causes and delays in treatments. A recent example is Ebola. These illnesses, stemming from unconventional origins, are outside our traditional healthcare concerns. Does this mean that from time to time we are susceptible to the invasion of such epidemics? Do we ignore the skeptical voices that question the origins of these diseases?

Ladies and gentlemen,

From the beginning, we wanted WISH to be a platform to test ideas, research, and the highest levels of scientific progress made in medical care around the world. Indeed, we wanted it to be a venue to foster a culture of innovation, to gather decision-makers, companies, academia and those who can and will influence policy change. Innovation does not spur out of a political decision; it must be embedded within the social and cultural fabric, as a natural outcome of development.

For Qatar, WISH makes an important contribution to improving our health system. We benefited from the ideas produced at WISH –as I am sure many of you did – and established partnerships between various institutions across the country. After the first summit, we launched the “WISH Implementation Taskforce,” to apply the research and policy recommendations developed by this conference in 2013. Hamad Medical Corporation successfully combined innovation and patient participation in a survey, where patients’ feedback resulted in the immediate improvement overall care. This year, WISH has also established a network of youth and young innovators to support the future of innovation.

To support the Qatar Genome Project, which we announced at last year’s summit, we recently opened the new Biobank building. Its advanced facilities will help the Genome project in moving us towards a future of personalised medicine. We are also raising the standard of excellence in patient care and clinical research at Sidra, which will become an integral avenue for further innovation.

It is also important to establish health insurance in Qatar that aims to create competition in health services between the public and private sectors in order to improve the quality of care for all citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Conventional solutions will not work to address our current global health challenges. So, perhaps the ultimate goal of our coming together at WISH is the need for innovative solutions to meet these challenges.

Be at the forefront of innovation. We will be with you, at the forefront of support.

May you succeed in your endeavours.