Posted on November 24, 2013

Developing research strategies for transportation health for children and the youth in Qatar and translating these strategies into effective change was the subject of a workshop on Transportation Health Research recently hosted by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto (SickKids). The event brought together leading researchers and physicians from Qatar and from SickKids, along with urban planners, government officials and other stakeholders in the country.

Transportation health focuses on areas of priority within the Qatar National Research Strategy that include designing environments which promote youth safety and health, and help reduce motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths.

“The workshop aims to foster communication and multi-sector collaboration among those who have an interest in safe transportation for children and youth, in order to develop research that will further look at the causes of road traffic injuries, and find solutions to improve the safety of motor vehicles and reduce the high rate of traffic injuries among the child and youth population in Qatar,” said Dr. Khalid Alsaadi Alyafei, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Emergency and Program Director of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at HMC.

Andrew Howard, SickKids.

One in eleven trauma patients seen at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) is a child victim (within the 0-18 age group) of road traffic injury. From 2010 to 2012, fifty-five percent of these patients were motor vehicle crash victims, either as a passenger or driver; 25 percent are pedestrians; and 13.5 percent were drivers or passengers of all-terrain vehicles. Forty percent of victims of all transport-related injuries were ages 15-18, according to a presentation by Dr. Rafael Consunji, Consultant, Trauma Surgery and Director of HMC’s Injury Prevention Program.

Dr Hassan Al Thani, HMC.

“Teenagers have a higher risk of being involved in motor vehicle crashes especially those who are driving at high speeds and not using seatbelts, and a large number of those injured are Qataris,” said Dr. Alyafei. Commenting on the challenges in raising awareness on road safety, Dr. Alyafei emphasized the importance of elder family members and friends serving as role models for children in the safe use of transportation, as children learn by example. “If the father or big brother abides by road safety regulations and treats others on the road in a respectful way, the children are likely to follow their example.”

Speakers from HMC and SickKids also included noted injury prevention researcher Dr. Andrew Howard, Chief of Orthopedics and Senior Scientist, Research Institute, SickKids; Gwen Burrows, Executive Director, Child Health Policy and Advocacy, SickKids; Dr. Abdulaberi Bener, Head of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at HMC; Dr. Hassan Al Thani, Head of Vascular and Trauma Surgery at HMC; and Dr. Colin Macarthur, Associate Chief, Clinical Research and Senior Associate Scientist, SickKids. The event also featured speakers from Ashghal, the Supreme Council of Health, the National Traffic Safety Committee, Qatar Road Safety Studies Center, the Social Rehabilitation Center, Qatar Shell GTL and Qatar University.

HMC and SickKids entered a five-year partnership in 2010 with the aim of transforming pediatric healthcare in Qatar through the development of world class clinical programs, child health research, and staff education and training. Through this partnership, significant strides have been made in ensuring that child health services in Qatar are delivered in accordance with international best practice.