HH Sheikha Moza attends inauguration of WHO Collaborating Center in WCM-Q

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HH Sheikha Moza attends inauguration of WHO Collaborating Center in WCM-Q

Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, attended on Wednesday an event marking the official designation of a research group at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for combating COVID-19 and other selected infectious diseases in the region.

The designation of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group (IDEG), which was led by WCM-Q professor of infectious disease epidemiology Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad, came after a decade of high-profile studies on the epidemiology of infectious diseases on the national, regional, and international levels, which has helped inform public health policy and programs.

IDEG has a special focus on viral hepatitis, which is especially prevalent in Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) countries and is one of the leading causes of deaths globally. The group contributed to efforts in combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS, reproductive tract infections, and, more recently, COVID-19.

IDEG at WCM-Q will support WHOs regional and global efforts to promote health and wellbeing by providing scientific research and advice to inform policy decisions and public health programs in the EMR.

HE Minister of Public Health and Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari said that the members of the IDEG are doing fantastic work with senior experts and officials in the Ministry of Public Health and at HMC to ensure we minimize the spread of the coronavirus in the State of Qatar.

"Being awarded World Health Organization Collaborating Centre status at WCM-Q is a huge achievement, and further strengthens Qatars ability to fight infectious diseases that affect communities all over the EMR region and beyond," she added.

"This official designation demonstrates the success of Qatars investment in the healthcare and research sectors, and reinforces Qatars contribution to public health on a global level. On behalf of the health sector, I would like to thank HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for her vision and leadership in creating a culture of research excellence in Qatar Foundation and in WCM-Q", she added.

On his part, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, said that "the designation of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group (IDEG) of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar as a WHO Collaborating Centre recognizes a history of more than a decade of collaboration in the field of infectious diseases and provides a formal framework for future joint activities."

"Collaborating centers such as IDEG are our critical partners in our endeavor to achieve our vision for the region, Vision 2023, with its goal of Health for All, by All", he pointed out.

"The Collaborating Centre could also play an important role in support of another important joint initiative between WHO and the Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) in addressing emergencies, including infectious diseases such as COVID-19, and the provision of essential health services in selected countries of the region", he added.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IDEG has spearheaded WCM-Qs efforts to work closely with the MOPH in Qatar and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) as they confront the infections spread, working with healthcare and policy experts to provide scientific technical analyses that has supported the COVID-19 national response.

This means that Qatar, thanks to its investment in biomedical research infrastructure and scientific human capital in recent years, will be host to a valuable resource working to promote the health and wellbeing of people right across the region and globally.