Posted on December 03, 2014

Qatar Biobank has recently been certified with two International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications by the British Standards Institute Group Middle East (BSI).

As a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), Qatar Biobank supports QF’s mission to ensure that Qatar addresses national health priorities, by enabling research on the causes of diseases that prevail in Qatar. Qatar Biobank is one of the first Qatar Foundation centres to receive the two qualifications - ISO 9001 and ISO 27001, addressing Quality Management Systems and Information Security Management respectively.

Working with the Supreme Council of Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and supported by scientists from Imperial College London, Qatar Biobank will enable medical research on health issues that prevail in Qatar. Mr Omar Rashid, General Manager of BSI, issued the two ISO certifications to Qatar Biobank at the Certification Ceremony held at the Qatar Foundation Student Center in Education City. The ceremony was attended by Qatar Biobank staff members, Members of the Board, key stakeholders and partners.

As the world’s largest developer of international standards, ISO specifications ensure quality, safety and efficiency across various industries worldwide. Quality Management Systems addresses standards that provide guidance and tools for organisations to ensure they provide a high quality service that meets customer requirements. Information Security Management helps manage sensitive information, for example ensuring the security of participant health information and biological samples.

Qatar Biobank receives two ISO 2 [].jpgProtecting the privacy and confidentiality of contributors to Qatar Biobank, who volunteer health information and biological samples is integral. Qatar Biobank has put rigorous confidentiality processes in place and the ISO certification helps ensure that the samples collected are fit for purpose and provide important assurances to participants. With Qatar Biobank set for the wide-scale public launch next year, having collected health information and biological samples from more than 1,700 members of the local community, the ISO certification represents a significant milestone, equipping the organisation to welcome more participants.  

“As part of our ramp-up phase, the increase in participants will be significant. Achieving this international certification is integral in paving the way for Qatar Biobank to develop innovative scientific outputs that can be applied globally in accordance with industry best practice,” said Dr Hadi Abderrahim, Managing Director of Qatar Biobank. Tamer El Nashar, Information Technology Project Manager at Qatar Biobank, said: “The ISO certification equips us to be ready to collect the depth and breadth of quality samples and information, which will allow researchers across research centres in Qatar to advance the understanding of human health and disease.”

Mr Omar Rashid, General Manager of BSI said: “On behalf of our Board of Directors, our Chairman Sir David Brown, and the Regional Managing Director of the British Standards Institution Middle East and Africa Mr Theuns Kotze, I would like to congratulate Qatar Biobank in achieving these two ISO certifications. I am delighted to be here to help mark this occasion, and I applaud Qatar Biobank for leading by example, with their commitment to achieve compliance to these two International Standards.”

“I would like to congratulate all those involved in this collective effort. Without the ability to design and accept Standards, we could never have developed into such a complex society. Standards drive learning, make comparison possible and fuel creativity. Your achievement will make a positive difference in developing the objectives of Qatar Biobank while also maintaining international best practices in delivering quality services, and protecting valuable, sensitive data,” he added.

Qatar Biobank is a large-scale, long term medical research initiative for the population of Qatar, which over the next few years aims to recruit large numbers of participants from the population of Qatar. Qatar Biobank aims to give Qatar’s population stronger chances of avoiding serious illnesses and to promote better health for future generations.