Posted on April 22, 2019

Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, has announced that it will host the first international child protection congress in Qatar from 14 to 16 February 2020. 

The congress, titled “Child Protection: The Journey Past, Present and Future” will be held in partnership with the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (ISPCAN) and Sidra Medicine’s Child Advocacy Program. The agreement to host the congress was signed by Dr. Tufail Mohammad, the President of IPSCAN’s Child Rights and Abuse Committee and Professor Khalid Al Ansari, the Chair of Emergency Medicine and Founder of Sidra Medicine’s Child Advocacy Program. ISPCAN Executive Director, Pragathi Tummala and Dr. Nadeem Jilani, Medical director for Sidra Child Advocacy Program were also present at the signing of the agreement.

Professor Khalid Al Ansari said: “The opportunity to host this important congress in Doha will be the next milestone for child protection services in Qatar and the region. It is also a testament to Sidra Medicine’s continued focus on child rights and protection. Every country and profession working in this field has challenges and success stories in the prevention, treatment and legal systems surrounding child protection.  The inter professional exchange of knowledge and practices including legal, social, healthcare services that will be addressed at the congress, will pave the route to continued development of inter-agency relationships and working practices in this under-recognized area. It will also help advance the field of child protection globally,”

The main theme of the ISPCAN International Congress in Qatar is prevention of child abuse and neglect.  The congress is expected to attract 400 delegates from over 40 countries and from Qatar. It is open to all those working or interested in child protection.  Special focus will be on positive parenting, data collection, and convening a youth forum to hear the voices of young people ages 18-25 on a topic that is on their mind and makes them feel vulnerable in today’s world. Read more about ISPCAN and the International Child Protection Congress at www.ispcan.org.

Dr. Tufail Mohammad said: “Our international congresses are more than a meeting.  They are an opportunity for the global exchange of learning, connection to the issues in the region, and for us to build a legacy of child protection that strengthens the commitment in the host country to advance child health.  We are honored to work with a leader with a vision and passion such as Sidra Medicine to bring this ISPCAN Congress to Doha.”

ISPCAN is an international non-profit organization that unites a range of inter-disciplinary professionals: pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, lawyers, mental health professionals, governmental policy makers and agencies that work toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation across the globe. ISPCAN, with its headquarters in the USA, has been advocating for children and families for over 40 years and has active members in more than 200 countries. 

The Child Advocacy Program at Sidra Medicine was launched in January 2017 and features a dedicated team of trained professionals who work together to support children and families when there are concerns of child abuse or neglect. The team provides 24/7 phone consultation to healthcare professionals across Qatar and also arranges child abuse medical evaluations, investigations and follow up.  It works closely with key government entities within Qatar including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, National Human Rights Committee, and the various Social Service and Healthcare agencies across Qatar. 

As part of its ongoing commitment to child advocacy services, Sidra Medicine recently launched a helpline – 4003 4000 - for children, families, caregivers and the community to report any form of child abuse or neglect they may have witnessed or that may have been inflicted on them if they are a child.  The organization also commissioned a short film called Sorry’ as a powerful visual representation of a child going through the ordeal of abuse, with a call to action on how to seek immediate help.

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