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Third Summit focuses on opportunities to create healthier populations

Doha, Qatar, 29 November 2016 – The third World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) kicked off today with Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), addressing a record number of ministers and global health policy experts, who travelled from more than 100 countries to attend the two-day event at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).

In her opening remarks, Her Highness acknowledged the new and diverse challenges facing the global healthcare community and the populations they serve, and expressed hope that the Summit would enable valuable collaboration.

She said: “All of our countries have a healthcare system, but none of them are perfect. Each country faces its own healthcare challenges. I hope that the participants in this year’s Summit will benefit from the research produced by WISH to improve their own health systems, and I hope that they will also use WISH as their platform for observing and monitoring policy reform in their own countries.”

Her Highness also highlighted Qatar’s groundbreaking work in genomics and personalised medicine. Qatar Genome Programme, which was launched at the inaugural WISH in 2011, completed the sequencing of 3,000 Qatari genomes, a milestone that Her Highness noted will bring significant benefits to the local population.

“The ultimate aim of the Qatar Genome Programme is for it to bring tremendous benefit to patients. Working with partners, we are seeking to find ways to develop systems that will enable citizens’ genome data to be accessible to all health care centres, hospitals and clinics in order to provide efficient and customised treatment, while also guaranteeing the protection and confidentiality of patients’ health information,” Her Highness said.

The first day of the Summit featured policy briefings on universal health coverage and learning from international collaboration particularly on patient safety, as well as panel discussions on autism, health professional education, precision medicine, accountable care, behavioral insights, and genomics in the Gulf region and Islamic ethics.

Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Executive Chair of WISH, said: “WISH is a unique platform that brings together ministers, industry leaders, policy makers and academics to share our ideas, celebrate our successes and confront the common difficulties we face. WISH brings the world to Qatar and Qatar to the world. At WISH, it’s real change that matters. Here, today, we have a global network of health reformers with a shared ambition: to make our health systems more responsive, with better quality and better value for money.”

Egbert Schillings, CEO of WISH, said: “WISH, now only in its third year, has firmly established itself as an indispensable part of the global healthcare leadership agenda. The leaders we convened are in Doha to engage with a unique body of knowledge, distinctive in both scope and depth. Today, we saw that the world will always come together to advance the cause of human health, as long as leaders are equipped with the ideas to do so and a platform that unites them. That is the essence of WISH and we are looking forward to the next chapter with even greater energy and commitment to improving the health of populations everywhere.”

In keeping with WISH’s goal of creating a global healthcare community, keynote speaker Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England and a member of the World Health Organization’s executive board, urged delegates to work together to fight drug-resistant infectious diseases, which she said results in 700,000 deaths worldwide each year.

Dame Davies said: “These diseases are fuelled by the lack of a balance in antibiotics consumption that is fast becoming a major health disaster in the 21st century. It is imperative for us to move beyond the planning phase and take tangible actions to tackle this global epidemic. Continued awareness and education, ways to contain infections, optimised use of antibacterial drugs, innovation, and developing favourable market conditions are a few of the steps global policy makers have been agreeing to undertake in this process. I call on all the ministers, policy-makers and health professionals to work together towards innovating for a brighter future. We can change the world when we want to and when we choose to change.”

In the evening keynote talk, Dr Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami and former Minister of Health for Mexico, discussed the challenges and opportunities created by the rapid proliferation of healthcare education.

“There has been an explosion in education and reform for universal healthcare coverage, which creates a unique set of opportunities for us to exploit. Transformative learning now means that healthcare professionals need to master the content and the context of the larger healthcare landscape in which they operate,” said Dr Frenk.

Several of the panels addressed healthcare concerns in Qatar, including autism, which came to the forefront locally in 2015 with the creation of a National Working Autism Group and the development of a National Autism plan.

Speaking about Qatar’s national strategy around autism, Muhammad Waqar Azeem, Chair of Department of Psychiatry at Sidra Research and Medical Centre, said: “The strategy is based on six pillars: awareness, timely screening, timely diagnosis, evidence-based interventions, the role of schools in the child’s life and the transition into adulthood. These pillars are very important, and we are grateful to Her Excellency Dr Hanan Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, who is the force behind this strategy. Secondly, WISH, having an autism forum that unites all national stakeholders, is great success in itself.”

About the World Innovation Summit for Health:

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices. WISH is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, its Chairperson.

The inaugural WISH Summit took place in Doha in 2013 and convened more than 1,000 global healthcare leaders. Through international summits and a range of ongoing initiatives, WISH is creating a global community of leading innovators in healthcare policy, research and industry.

Together, they are harnessing the power of innovation to overcome the world’s most urgent healthcare challenges and inspire other stakeholders to action.

Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF) is a private, non-profit organization that is supporting Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential, for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, QF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

QF’s work encompasses education, research and community development. World-class universities are brought to Qatar to help create an education sector in which young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for a knowledge economy. At the same time, QF builds Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity by developing and commercializing solutions through key sciences. The Foundation also works to foster a progressive society while enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community.

For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, visit

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