Qatar Cancer Plan aims to improve patient care: Minister of Public Health

Minister of Public Health HE Dr Hanan Mohammed Al Kuwari has affirmed that the launch of the Qatar Cancer Plan comes within the framework of the State of Qatar’s keenness to provide the best sustainable health services to the current and future generations, in accordance with the directions of the leadership, and to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“Through the Qatar Cancer Plan for Excellence for All, we strive to continuously improve the care we provide to cancer patients, their families, and the community,” Dr Al Kuwari added as she addressed the inauguration ceremony on Sunday.

In his speech at the inauguration ceremony, Director of the Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani explained that the Qatar Cancer Plan 2023-2026 lays the foundation for a new aspect of comprehensive cancer care, which includes the psychological and social aspects of patients, and the plan is characterized by developing clinical research and supporting international cooperation in this field through the establishment of the Cancer Research Office at the Ministry of Public Health.

For his part, Chair of the National Cancer Governance Council Professor Lord Darzi gave a presentation on the highlights of the Qatar Cancer Plan 2023-2026, saying, “The plan sets out strategic objects and deliverables that will fundamentally alter how cancer care is delivered introducing new services, facilities, and models of care that will have direct impacts on the quality of care for those with cancer, and the support provided to patients, survivors, care givers and the wider community across Qatar.” Developed in collaboration with key stakeholders in the country and with the support of WHO experts, the Qatar Cancer Plan 2023-2026 is based on a coherent strategic collaborative approach between all health authorities in the country to follow the patient’s entire path, including awareness, prevention, early detection, proper diagnosis, holistic treatment, and palliative care.

The plan includes 87 clear, tangible, and measurable deliverables within a robust governance framework. The plan’s deliverables are based on the fundamental importance of improving cancer care services, and highlight the importance of investing in this area for its benefits at the level of public health and well-being these bring to the people of Qatar, and to contribute to saving lives, improving the care and support provided to the population, in addition to achieving a positive return on investment by achieving (better value), which supports the provision of sustainable health services.

The deliverables of the Qatar Cancer Plan are organized under 23 strategic objectives across seven chapters: prevention and public education, early detection and screening, quality treatment and ongoing care, holistic support, childhood cancers, surveillance and research, and strategic enablers.

The Qatar Cancer Plan builds upon the strong foundations laid through the National Cancer Strategy 2011-2016 and the National Cancer Framework 2017-2022, which have contributed to achieving excellence in cancer care in Qatar by providing high-quality care services to the entire population, one of the achievements is that the State of Qatar is the first in the world where cancer suspected patient receives secondary medical care from a specialist within 48 hours, the disease is diagnosed within two weeks, and the patient receives treatment within two more weeks.

In a press conference held on the occasion of the plan’s launch, CEO and Medical Director of the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) Mohammed Salem Jaber Al Hassan said that there is a quantum leap in the field of cancer diagnosis and treatment in the State of Qatar, as the plan comes to reinforce this great effort made by the health sector to fight the disease.

Many new initiatives and programs have been created to detect and treat cancer, including early detection for those who have a higher risk such as those having relatives with cancer, and new treatment techniques that depend on the genes of the patient himself, so that treatment is personalized and varies from patient to patient, he said.

He explained that the home care service is currently being provided to cancer patients upon request, and there is a tendency to treat some cancer patients in their homes through a specialized medical team according to the patient’s condition, as these services fall within the framework of facilitating patients who do not wish to stay in the hospital on the condition that their condition allows them to do so.

Director of Early Detection Programs at Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Dr Sheikha Abu Sheikha said that the Qatar Cancer Plan will enhance efforts aimed at the early detection of cancer in Qatar and provide important tools to reduce the disease, on the one hand, and provide appropriate treatment at the right time for patients, on the other.

She explained that the cancer early detection program, which currently targets early detection of bowel and breast cancer, intends to expand detection to other cancers, such as lung cancer, cervical cancer, and thyroid cancer.