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Doha hosts the World Innovation Summit for Health 2013

dohaWorld renowned decision makers and policy planners gathered in Doha to participate in the World Innovation Summit for Health 2013. They were all unanimous on the necessity for healthcare to top priority issues all over the world in order to improve the quality of life and get better health services. The summit which was held Tuesday, Dec 10 and Wednesday Dec 11, was opened by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development.

Most speakers expressed optimism that changes will take place to take healthcare to new levels and improve healthcare systems through technological innovations supported by specialized research and studies to diagnose and treat, and much more importantly prevent diseases. They said that the road should be paved to further enhance the spread of innovation in the health service domain, while at the same time evaluate the importance of successful practices and implement them in real life in order to encourage states to adopt new policies, products and methods to improve health related results for the population.

They said most countries around the world face the same problems, but at various levels, and they particularly pointed out psychology, obesity, responsible care for patients who are dying (palliative care), antimicrobial resistance and road accident injuries.

In her opening speech, Sheikha Moza said the conference addresses education, health and scientific research. This is a triad of indivisible elements and its goals cannot be fragmented, while innovation is its heart as a decisive factor in finding solutions to face various challenges, Sheikha Moza highlighted.

She said “it is no secret that innovation in its core is materialized in the way we think, our mechanism in solving problems and the way we set policies and programs in addition to developing techniques, because innovation is not just searching for better treatment, rather it is in the ways that lead to reducing the need for drugs”. She added reducing the need for drugs comes through instilling a health culture in the population and encouraging them to follow healthy activities. Sheikha Moza considered the conference as a motivator for innovating suitable solutions to control many health challenges that will make everyone move together towards employing innovation in reaching solutions to achieve new advancements in the progress of healthcare.

Meanwhile, Executive Chair of WISH, Qatar Foundation, Director of Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, Professor Lord Darzi, spoke about the conference’s topics and goals, the most notable issues to be discussed and finding innovative and sustainable solutions for them. He said “healthcare faces much more challenges than any other time, and in case we want to be successful in facing them, all nations must find innovative solutions for prevention and present treatments for illness”, adding that “we want to inspire people to implement these ideas around the globe”.

A paper that was published on the second and final day of the conference stated that the publication of new ideas in the field of global spread of innovation in healthcare requires governments and healthcare establishments to adopt a clear vision of what can be achieved, and set new standards of work, but most countries do not follow such procedures.
The paper highlighted the social and behavioral factors that speed up the absorption of advances in the field of healthcare. The paper said countries that were included in the study showed good performance in general in identifying the champions of change involving patients and dealing with doctors’ complaints. The study said that performance of seven out of the eight countries was weak in dropping the old ways of work and adapting innovations to local circumstances, besides finding the space and time for learning.

Darzi said “all health services must be changed to face the ageing issue and the increasing burdens of chronic diseases and economic burdens.” He said, “we are in need of innovative solutions for these problems, yet more important is to learn the means to spread them, making it easier to understand and publicize”. Darzi said the study that was sponsored by the Qatar Foundation is a unique opportunity to look at healthcare systems in those countries to successfully innovate to inspire other countries around the world to follow the best means and ideas. He said providing high quality health service at reasonable costs is considered a global challenge that requires finding domestic solutions and carry out gradual improvements while introducing techniques and methodical innovation in work mechanisms.

President of Qatar Foundation Saad Al-Muhannadi said, “enhancing innovation in the field of healthcare in Qatar and abroad is an integral part of the foundation’s ambition to become a distinguished international center in the field of medical practice, education and research”. He said the conference provided the 67 participating countries a unique opportunity to exchange information and learn from the success of others.

The conference was rich in its topics and rich in scholars and personalities who discussed and contributed with enriching information on issues that concern the world’s communities. An issue that was discussed deeply was about innovation that could improve palliative healthcare around the world. The delegates spoke about the a report that was prepared after studying eight different national healthcare systems in order to see how can they be applied in other countries. Policy and decision makers were urged to make easier for patients to get relief and ways in which innovative use of data could support low cost innovation for palliative care.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Executive Chair of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College, London and End of Life Forum Chair said: “The impact of poor end-of-life care is as large on the families as on the person who is dying. Four billion people have no access to pain relief drugs like opioids and morphine, which not only affect the dying but also their loved ones. Nobody wants to watch someone they care for going through so much pain. This is an unacceptable way to spend the last part of life. The end-of-life-care report aims to tackle head-on the challenges facing end-of-life and palliative care today.

“Appropriate training for health workers and knowledge transfer to the public using the appropriate language is key to transforming end-of-life care for all. The experience of dying can be made that bit easier when medics are trained so they possess the emotional intelligence to have those difficult conversations about death and dying.”

Recommendations to policy-makers include:
* Make care of the dying a priority for all, starting with a national strategy for end-of-life care.
* Reduce unnecessary suffering at the end of by improving access to pain and symptom relief.
* Improve knowledge and use data to drive innovation through development of research.
* Maximize resources, using technology and low-cost innovation to improve access and quality.
* Improve skills by developing training.

By Abdellatif Sharaa

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This article was published on 16/12/2013