HMC launches National Influenza Center

Press release
Published March 25th, 2012 - 11:03 GMT
National Influenza Center
National Influenza Center

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has officially opened the National Influenza Center (NIC) in Qatar, which aims to detect and investigate the various types of influenza viruses in Qatar, and exchange pandemic information related to influenza infections with parallel international centers worldwide and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Located at Hamad Medical City, the NIC was opened by His Excellency Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad Al-Thani, Director of Public Health at The National Health Authority, accompanied by Dr Abdullatif Al-Khal, Head of Infectious Diseases Section at HMC and Deputy Chairman of the Epidemiology Preparedness Committee. 

“I am very proud to announce the launch of this unique center in Qatar, which comes as a fruit of an excellent collaboration between HMC, Primary Health Care and the Supreme Council of Health, with the aim of combating influenza epidemic disease in the country,” said Dr Al-Thani in his opening remarks. “This Center is one of the international centers accredited by the WHO for the detection, registration and control of influenza infections in Qatar, and the sharing of information with parallel international centers and the WHO. It aims to benefit from international expertise and best practices in combating influenza before it becomes an epidemic.” 

Dr Al-Thani said that the NIC Qatar is staffed by highly experienced medical laboratory personnel, and has the latest equipment used for medical tests and investigations. 

“The NIC Qatar is one of 110 influenza centers around the world operating under supervision of the WHO,” Dr Al Khal said, adding that the laboratory tests samples of flu virus collected from patients and provides data to physicians, the Department of Public Health and the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network, where such data will be used for the assessment of influenza vaccine to be administered during the flu season. 

Dr Said Al Dhahiry, Head of Molecular Virology Laboratory at HMC, explained that the NIC Qatar has been operational since May 2009, and more than 12,000 samples collected from flu patients have been tested so far. Samples are normally collected from patients visiting PHCs, hospitals and Emergency Departments. The viruses are then isolated at the center and samples are sent to the World Influenza Center in London for further laboratory investigations. Thus the NIC Qatar will improve the surveillance and registration of various types of influenza cases in Qatar, in addition to providing training for clinical staff on sample testing and virus isolation.

Background Information

Hamad Medical Corporation

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.

For more than four decades, HMC has been dedicated to delivering the safest, most effective and compassionate care to all its patients.

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