Qatar: More than 30 new primary healthcare centres will be built across the country over the next five years, a senior Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) official said yesterday.
There are now 21 health centres in the country and each has considerable differences in the number of visits they receive each year.
“Work on six new health centres is expected to be completed by the third quarter of next year and they will replace some of the existing ones,” PHCC managing director Dr Mariam Ali Abdulmalik said on the sidelines of the National Primary Health Care Strategy launch yesterday.
She said based on results of recent surveys conducted by the corporation, there was a need to increase the number of health centres because of the rise in the country’s population.
Dr Abdulmalik said the management of Al Maamoura and Al Wafideen health centres had recently been transferred to the Qatar Red Crescent to cater to single-male workers in the country.
“Both health centres have been dedicated to foreign workers and in this case, the PHCC is no longer responsible for managing the two health centres as their running now belongs to the other authority,” Dr Abdulmalik said.
Asked whether the launch of the Primary Health Care Strategy will focus more on improving standards at the health centres, she said: “The strategy is working on global improvement by targeting different aspects in primary healthcare as we are working on developing workforce by training, recruiting additional skilled staff, increasing efficiency and productivity; geographic expansion, raising quality of services in order to be based on international standards.”
Dr Abdulmalik said by improving the PHCC infrastructure, operations and health education, the corporation will be able to disseminate a healthy lifestyle for individuals, which will reflect a healthy community that is able to produce, develop and grow in a healthy environment.
The National Health Strategy (NHS 2011-2016) states that Qatar’s planned expansion of healthcare services has been focused mostly on secondary and tertiary care, with a lack of sufficient resources dedicated to primary healthcare improvement.
Dr Abdulmalik said the policy of recruitment in PHCC is based on very strict standards –the practitioners must have high qualifications and specific skills as their duty is to improve people health and life.
“Currently, we are embarking on international evolution by training our staff and seeking to increase the staff numbers proportionally within the next few years based on the strategy clauses which recommend redesigning the job structure and skills mix,” she said adding: “The workforce is one of most important enablers we are focusing on to develop and fulfil multidisciplinary areas.”
The official said that plans were on to increase the number of professionals working at the PHCC from 4,000 to 6,000.
Asked whether the PHCC will also be re-evaluating its staff certification similar to the move by the Hamad Medical Corporation, the official said: “PHCC has just started communication with external bodies to study the clinical qualifications of physicians and such step shall improve the standards of practice. PHCC and HMC are both working under the Supreme Council of Health’s authority and are committed to follow any recommendations that might lead to improve the health system in Qatar.”
On the impact of the Social National Health Insurance scheme on the primary health care in the country, Dr Abdulmalik said the system will allow patients to choose their health care service provider.
“The Social Health Insurance will also increase the competition locally as expanded integration will occur between the healthcare corporations in order to provide better health care services and help patients to decide based on reasonable facts and more transparency related to the quality of primary care services through the periodic reports that evaluate the performance for each primary healthcare provider,” she said.
© Gulf TimesJun 2013