Posted on February 18, 2018

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), has announced that ‘Islamic Ethics and Palliative Care’ will be one of nine research topics that will form the focus of the WISH 2018 conference. WISH 2018 will take place at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) from November 13-14.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as an approach that leads to the improvement of the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem of terminal or life-threatening illness. This is achieved through the prevention of suffering by means of early identification and pain management. Palliative care also tackles other problems of well-being such as physical pain, psychosocial unrest, and spiritual treatment.

In the months leading up to WISH 2018,an international group of experts will investigate the ethical challenges and questions palliative care gives rise to. The group’s findings, to be published in a report ahead of WISH 2018, will be discussed in depth during a panel session at the prestigious event. In addition to exploring and analyzing the key ethical challenges of palliative care from an Islamic perspective, the aim of the academic research within this forum is to produce policy recommendations that can have a positive impact on the management of palliative care in Qatar, the region, and beyond.

Dr. Mohammed Ghaly, professor of Islam and Biomedical Ethics at the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics, College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), leads the WISH Islamic Ethics and Palliative Care research group. The intersection of Islamic ethics and biomedical sciences is Dr. Ghaly’s main specialization and he is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Islamic Ethics (published by Brill). Dr. Ghaly has lectured on the topic of Islamic bioethics at many prestigious universities worldwide, including Imperial College London and Oxford University and he is a previous fellow of the Kenney Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, USA.

Dr. Ghaly said: “The emerging field of palliative care demonstrates the significance of treating a person as an indivisible whole, consisting of not only body but also thoughts, convictions, and beliefs, rather than only treating the strictly medical aspects of their disease. This has significantly contributed to bridging the gap between medicine and ethics and opens up new frontiers of interdisciplinary enquiry.

“Our forum will examine the ethical questions within the sensitive topic of palliative care, with a focus on insights from an Islamic tradition. The prospective study will include discussions surrounding international deliberations, the regional experience, and the relevance of Islamic ethical discourse. It will focus on finding the right balance between standard healthcare practice and Islamic traditions in order to collectively and holistically provide the sought-after guidelines and policy recommendations in the context of healthcare delivery in Qatar and the region.”

Sultana Afdhal, CEO, WISH, commented: “Every healthcare decision made is influenced by a central moral and ethical code. When it comes to healthcare service provision, physicians, patients, and their caregivers all need guidance on how to align their moral compass with the best course of action. It is for that reason that since its inception, the WISH summit has featured discussions surrounding Islamic ethics and health.

WISH begins study into [].jpg“This year, we are delighted to be working with HBKU once again in tackling one of the most sensitive and thorniest ethical issues: end-of-life care. I hope that the findings and subsequent policy recommendations of our research can be used to guide future healthcare policy decisions and help healthcare practitioners in their interactions with those patients and their families who are dealing with the often difficult decisions associated with palliative care.”

As with previous summits, WISH 2018 will once again gather the world’s healthcare leaders at QNCC to highlight and address some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges. WISH, which hosts its Doha summit biennially, has quickly established itself as a major highlight on the global healthcare calendar for the thousands of high-level policy-makers, academics, and professionals in attendance. It has also become a key platform for the dissemination of healthcare innovation and best practices.

WISH 2018 will feature nine research forums, each led by an internationally renowned expert in their field. Between them, the forums will highlight and address some of the world’s most pressing challenges across topics that cover medical, ethical, technological, and humanitarian aspects of healthcare.

As part of an ambitious program for WISH 2018, the summit will also showcase global organizations that are shaping the design, delivery, and financing of healthcare.The summit will provide a specially selected group of young innovators with a platform to share their novel ideas with a global audience of healthcare policy-makers and influencers.

WISH 2018 will also feature reports on its ongoing impact, locally and globally, on issues previously highlighted at the summit, such as autism, and will feature an increased array of community-based events across Qatar. Examples of healthcare innovation in action will be presented within ‘The WISH Hub’ – an interactive space that will showcase novel healthcare products, host informal discussions, and provide hands-on experience of technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.