(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Heidelberg University Hospital have signed an agreement to establish a National Center for Rare Disease in Qatar.
The agreement was signed by HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, and Prof Dr Annette Gruters-Kieslich, chief medical director and chairperson of the board of Heidelberg University Hospital.
Over the weekend, officials from HMC and the acclaimed German research institution, gathered for the Doha-Heidelberg Clinical, Oncology, Research Conference. The conference also saw the hosting of the first Rare Disease Symposium, illustrating the growing interest in this topic.
Dr al-Kuwari attended the conference's opening ceremony and noted the significance of the collaboration between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital.
'I am delighted to see the progress that has been achieved since the agreement between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital was signed a year ago. Not only have we had the benefit of senior consultants from Heidelberg visiting Qatar to provide specialist expertise to our patients, but we have also benefited from opportunities for joint training exercises, with many physicians from Qatar having trained in Heidelberg's world-renowned facility, said Dr al-Kuwari.
'As we work together to explore new ways of delivering better patient care, education, training, and research, we will continue to look at areas where Qatar can develop further and one such area is the planned Qatar National Center for Rare Disease. This centre will be a joint collaboration with Heidelberg University Hospital and will see the combining of both organisations' knowledge and expertise, added Dr al-Kuwari.
Prof Gruters-Kieslich, who also presented a keynote lecture on the evolving concept of rare diseases, stated she is confident HMC and Heidelberg will continue to be strong partners, collaborating across a number of areas, including cancer research and training.
Dr Saad al-Kaabi, chairman of the International Medical Affairs Office at HMC and conference chairperson, said the gathering provided a forum for clinicians, researchers, academics, and healthcare professionals to explore new clinical and research collaborations, and to build on many of the collaborations.
'We signed an agreement last year to deepen the long-standing relationship between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital and we have already seen significant benefits resulting from the close collaboration between both our institutions. During the past year, we held a neurosciences symposium to coincide with Multiple Sclerosis Day and Heidelberg University Hospital contributed numerous speakers to the programme for our 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Conference in October. A senior delegation from HMC's Radiology Department also visited Heidelberg in May to explore potential areas of collaboration, said Dr al-Kaabi.