Posted on June 07, 2014

On the third anniversary of launching the National Cancer Strategy (NCS), the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) celebrates the numerous successful projects and campaigns in efforts to increase awareness of cancer and build a solid medical foundation for cancer care in Qatar.

Dr. Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, Assistant General Secretary of Policy Affairs expressed great pride in the strategy’s accomplishments in the short period of three years, asserting that the National Cancer Program will exhaust all efforts to continue implementing the recommendations set forth by the strategy through on-going cancer awareness campaigns and consistent development of the medical services across the nation. Since the inauguration of the strategy on May 11th, 2011, many governmental organizations, health institutions and medical experts in Qatar have reinforced their commitment to revolutionize the way cancer treatment and awareness is handled in the country.

Among its numerous accomplishments the NCS took great pride in launching its new brand, National Cancer Program, during World Cancer Day on February 4th, 2014. The launch included introducing the public to the program’s website which encourages a healthy conversation about cancer and its related topics. The program also developed a calendar of the cancer awareness events that take place all year round;most of them are public engaging events intended to promote a healthy life style and awareness of cancer signs and symptoms to look out for. Additionally, some activities will target schools and educational institutions to inform the young generation of the risk factors that may lead to cancer and healthy habits that could help prevent them from developing the condition at a later stage in life.

Looking forward, the National Cancer Program is determined to launch a comprehensive myth refutation campaign nation-wide. The campaign is intended to focus on dismissing all the common misconceptions about cancer and educating the public about the signs and symptoms to be aware of to help with early detection and treatment. In an attempt to raise the profile of the ambitious national initiative, the National Cancer Program recruited a number of influential figures in the Qatari society to start a movement against cancer, calling everyone to engage in this important effort as a national duty in the fight against cancer.

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In addition to the awareness campaigns, the National Cancer Program has initiated a plan to increase the effectiveness of all cancer services in Qatar through intensive and on-going implementation. The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) part of the WHO completed a review of Environmental Carcinogens in Qatar which was completed with full engagement of QP and the Ministry of the Environment. Hamad Medical Corporation and the Primary Health Care Corporation have introduced a communications skills program for all cancer clinicians.Hamad Medical Corporation has introduced the Clinical Nurse Specialist for most cancer tumor sites and there is a master’s program which commenced at Qatar University to further enhance the expertise and specialisation in cancer treatment and patient care.

The vision of the NCS has enabled a multidisciplinary treatment plan for all cancer patients within 14 days after the initial diagnosis, and the SCH, HMC and PHCC are developing and implementing a 48 hour cancer referral process for suspecting patients. Furthermore, the National Cancer Program is supporting the execution of the cancer research strategy in Qatar that will provide a body of knowledge which helps the development of cancer care in the nation, and puts Qatar at the forefront of cancer research in the region.

The strategy has a lot planned for the coming year, including a nationwide recall screening program for breast and bowel cancer, further development of the workforce through training and ongoing recruitment, and undergoing continuous evaluation via a peer review process to measure the overall productivity of the strategy and to ensure the added value achieved to date is maintained and improved upon. The National Cancer Strategy will be renewed in 2016, pointing the way to more effective, approaches to help each and every cancer patient in Qatar.