As part of Sidra’s mission to provide world-class medical education to healthcare professionals in Qatar and across the region, Sidra has partnered with the Excellence in Paediatrics Institute to bring their flagship conference to the Middle East for the first time. Over 1,500 pediatric professionals from more than 90 countries are attending the medical conference to share expertise, learn the latest techniques, such as Transcatheter Closure of Septal Defects in Children by Sidra’s own new Clinical Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Ziyad Hijazi among others, and collectively improve the quality of pediatric care globally.
While opening the event, Sidra Chief Executive Officer Dr. William Owen said, “The common thread for us all is to achieve greatness by nurturing the potential of the individual. And building potential begins with creating and maintaining health among our children and for our children yet to be born, something that our keynote speaker has dedicated his career to—eliminating the threat of disease through prevention in the form of vaccination. Vaccinations are the most cost effective and efficient measures for the prevention of infectious diseases. In Qatar, childhood immunization coverage rates for polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and measles are over 90%, and have been so for the past 15 years.”
Dr. Thomas Cherian, the Coordinator for Programme and Impact Monitoring in the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO), delivered the keynote address at EiP, predicting that 26 million deaths could be averted in the next decade through vaccination, but only if national governments act now. He advocates for the following steps to be taken to achieve this goal:
• Generate political commitment and promote country ownership of national immunization programs, ensuring better governance, adequate investments, and a strong emphasis on evidence for prioritization and planning at the national level.
• Strengthen immunization systems and promote greater integration with broader health systems.
• Increase access to an affordable supply of quality vaccines to all populations.
• Improve the availability and quality of data and information to monitor performance.
• Empower paediatricians to create awareness, allay fears, and use every contact with children and families to check and immunize when it is indicated.
“While immunization already prevents millions of deaths and uncounted illnesses, we must continue working together in supporting countries to deliver life-saving vaccines to people in every community and in every country,” added Dr. Thomas Cherian. He continued “together, we can make the Global Vaccine Action Plan vision ― a world in which all individuals and communities enjoy lives free from vaccine-preventable diseases ― a reality.”
Among other topics discussed at the Sidra-hosted EiP event, attendees will learn techniques for the repair of defective genes in children; understand the social determinants of health outcomes; find out how utero neurosurgical procedures can heal a damaged growing baby; learn how to encourage a reticent mother to breast feed her baby; see an imaging device that resolves biochemical pathways in the brain; and experience a premixed baby formula that is palatable and affordable.
EiP is the first of many international-caliber events Sidra will bring to Doha to ensure that best-quality education is available to all, which includes sponsoring a number of pediatricians from emerging markets to attend the events.