Middle East

Qatar to join forces with WHO to address public health safety at World Cup – Doha News

The 2022 World Cup offers an opportunity to create new ways of planning large-scale sporting events that take into account the lessons of the pandemic and strengthen the link between sport and health as a means of rehabilitation.

The Qatar Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organization health authorities have implemented a comprehensive set of measures to mitigate potential public health risks at this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The move is part of a three-year Sport for Health partnership between MoPH and WHO aimed at ensuring the safety of participants, officials, spectators and neighbors through global sporting tournaments. .

In addition to health promotion, the partnership maintains a strong pillar of health security to ensure that attendees of major athletic events are protected and in good health.

To address potential increases in infectious disease outbreaks, the partnership is overseeing risk assessments, mass collection techniques inside and outside stadiums, event-based surveillance, and risk communication.

An estimated 1.5 million fans are expected to visit Qatar for major sports tournaments.

“Major sporting events like the World Cup involve significant numbers of people that can strain public health and the response resources of the host country or community,” says MoPH Health Protection and Epidemics. Director of Administration, Dr. Hamad Al-Romahi said.

Al Romaihi further highlighted Qatar’s clear progress in the health sector, namely 10 new hospitals and 16 new primary care centers operating since 2010, dramatically boosting the country’s capacity for the entire system. .

He also emphasized “expanding our nationwide ambulance service in 2019 and opening the largest trauma and first aid center in the region.”

“We have placed great emphasis on building a strong and highly skilled team of medical professionals throughout the system to provide quality care to the people of Qatar.”

“All football fans who travel to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup will be able to receive medical services equivalent to the highest international standards, if needed, from the Hamid Medical Center team,” said Al Romayhi. You can rest assured.

In partnership with Sport for Health, WHO is supporting MoPH on how to use risk-based approaches in planning high-profile events and improving response capacities such as outbreak management. We provide technical advice.

The precedent set by recent large-scale athletic events, such as the Beijing Winter Olympics held earlier this year, has provided the right practices and knowledge to underpin technical support in Qatar’s public health expertise. .

In recent years, Qatar healthcare workers have participated in major tournaments in Doha such as the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships and the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup.

Qatar has benefited from the development of its healthcare system and its science-driven strategies to achieve one of the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates and highest vaccination rates in the world. WHO.

Dr. Rayana Ahmad Bou Haka, WHO representative to Qatar, said lessons had been learned.

“The lessons learned at last year’s Arab Cup show that large gatherings can be successful if properly managed, but they can never be zero risk.

“Nevertheless, the risks involved are event-specific, tailored to the venue, participants and the context in which the event takes place, within the general enhancement of surveillance and public health measures in place in the host country. It can be reduced by applying preventive measures.

“Today, our plan builds on best practices and recommendations from the FIFA Arab Cup later in 2021 to strengthen our preparedness for health emergencies and prevent infectious diseases, including Covid-19. To ensure that containment precautions are maintained to keep people safe and healthy.” Added Bou Haka.

Notably, the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup sparked the country’s third coronavirus wave with relatively low numbers of tickets sold compared to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Small precedents prove otherwise

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar has hosted several sporting events, including the inaugural F1 Grand Prix and the FIFA Arab Cup, which concludes on December 18, 2021.

Organizers asked that safety protocols and rules be followed during the event, but large crowds and a widespread lack of social distancing were observed, with many not adhering to protocols. .

In January, Qatar witnessed a third wave of coronavirus as the number of cases caused by the Omicron variant surged.

Dr Soha Al Bayat, MoPH’s director of vaccination, said cases had been rising in the country since November, but that there was a significant spike in the last week of December.

According to Ministry of Health statistics, 296 new cases were reported on 26 December 2021, the highest since August of the same year. This represents an 80% increase compared to the same period in November.

Last year’s Arab Cup sold a total of 476,000 tickets at the end of the quarter-finals, with over 560,000 tickets allocated after the quarter-finals.

The match between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates drew a record crowd of 63,439, making it the highest-ever national attendance for a sporting event in Qatar.

In total, more than two million tickets have already been sold for the upcoming World Cup, with another million reserved for sponsors and FIFA.

Known as the most geographically focused World Cup in history, the 32-team tournament kicks off on November 20th.

“I don’t think the World Cup poses any greater risk than other large gatherings,” said Michael Ryan, the WHO’s director of emergencies.

“I believe they will make the World Cup a success and a spectacle for the world to enjoy.”

https://dohanews.co/qatar-teams-up-with-who-to-tackle-public-health-security-at-world-cup/ Qatar to join forces with WHO to address public health safety at World Cup – Doha News

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