Posted on March 17, 2018

Dr. Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of the HMC Tobacco Control Center at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), attended the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), held in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 2,500 researchers, academics, scientists, healthcare professionals, and officials working in all aspects of tobacco control within both the public and private sector attended the event.

The conference, which was held from 7 to 9 March, was organized as part of a collective resolution to recognize tobacco control as a global issue. Held once every three years, the WCTOH is the premier, international conference on tobacco control. Attendees from more than one hundred countries, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Food and Drug Administration were among the attendees. Topics of discussion included empowering youth involvement toward the goal of a tobacco-free world, calling on governments to decrease the affordability and accessibility of tobacco products, and stopping public and private investment in the tobacco industry.

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Dr. Al Mulla said a video showcasing HMC’s Tobacco Control Center and the education, support, and treatment options available to patients, was shown during the event, both on screens within the venue and on various social media platforms associated with the event. He added that the conference was an ideal platform to meet with like-minded groups for the purpose of establishing potential collaborations and partnerships with organizations located around the world.

During the three-day event, Dr. Al Mulla met with officials from a number of high-profile regional and international organizations, including Her Royal Highness, Princess Dina Mired of Jordan and elected President of the Union for International Cancer Control. Dr. Al Mulla also met with Dr. Flavia Senkubuge, President of the 17th WCTOH and the current Vice-President of the African Federation of Public Health Association to discuss tobacco control strategies in place within both countries and potential collaborations between Qatar and South Africa.

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Dr. Al Mulla also held meetings with representatives from the WHO to discuss the success of previous collaborations between HMC and the group and potential future collaborations. In 2017, HMC’s Tobacco Control Center was officially designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre, the first in Qatar and the region. WHO Collaborating Centres, which also include research institutes and parts of universities and academies, are designated to carry out activities in support of the WHO’s mandated international health work. As part of the meeting, both groups agreed to conduct a regional Train-the-Trainer workshop for healthcare professionals later this year. The workshop will provide an opportunity for physicians, nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals to obtain information about smoking cessation and tobacco control. The sessions will also serve to expand knowledge sharing and education on the importance of tobacco control.

The next WCTOH is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland.