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University scholars consult on Qatari pharmacy sector


A team of academics are currently helping develop a strategy for pharmacy based research in Qatar.

Pharmacy QatarProf Derek Stewart, Dr Lesley Diack and Dr Lorna McHattie of the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and Institute of Health and Welfare Research attended a week-long programme of events in Doha from 25 October to 1 November.

Primarily invited as guests of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) - the premier non-profit healthcare provider in Doha - the RGU team met with Qatari health, pharmacy and educational stakeholders. There are around 300 pharmacist employed by HMC, few with any postgraduate or research training, hence the need to increase research capacity and activity. Cardiovascular, diabetes mellitus, neurology and cancer are the key areas of focus for the academic health centre and hence are of particular importance for pharmacy practice research.

This collaboration will provide an opportunity for the university to be involved in the strategic and operational development of the state's pharmacy services, plus the implementation of a research-based approach to support and evaluate them.

While there, the trio also delivered a two-day research methods taster course for 52 pharmacists based in Qatar which they developed especially for the excursion to support the country's plans to increase its research capacity. It was attended by junior and senior hospital pharmacists and four non-pharmacists.

Throughout the week, the team forged closer links between RGU and the Middle East, highlighting in particular the postgraduate study and PhD opportunities offered by the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences.

During their tour, the team met with key members of staff at the Women’s Hospital, Al Amal Hospital, Heart Hospital and Hamad General Hospital. The importance of pharmacy practice research to pharmacy service development, evaluation and patient care was emphasised during each meeting.
October’s excursion to Doha comes as the result of Prof Stewart's delivery of a keynote speech at the Qatar Health Congress in December 2010 which focused on pharmacy services development. He was consequently invited to return by members of the HMC who attended the conference.

Prof Stewart said: "Qatar is well placed in terms of the position of pharmacy and pharmacy education within health. There is the opportunity to apply a robust research approach to fully explore and evaluate any future developments. This visit provided a key opportunity for RGU to collaborate and bring expertise to this area."

Ms.Moza Al Hail, Women's Hospital pharmacy director said: "Our pharmacy department is proud that this pharmacy research work shop was the first of its kind to be conducted in Qatar which would not have been possible without the help and acceptance of speakers from RGU.

"It is eminent that pharmacy research activities will be a significant contribution towards helping HMC during its transition to an academic health centre.

"A high quality pharmacy research in certain areas if not all will help to build up good scientific evidence to guide appropriate, safe and effective treatment to the patients."

Moving forward, the RGU team have completed a report summing up their excursion and providing suggestions for future collaboration. These include facilitating a formal assessment of research training competencies and needs to systematically identify and plan for developments in line with the research strategy; and the delivery of further short courses like the taster workshop. 
For further information about Hamad Medical Corporation visit www.hmc.org.qa.

ENDS                                      

Photo caption: The team at the College of Pharmacy. From left – Wessam Mohammed El Kassem, Derek, Lorna, Lesley, Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahid Al-Hamadi (Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning), and Dr Peter Jewesson (Pharmacy Program Leader at Qatar University).

Andrew Youngson
Communications Officer | Faculty of Health and Social Care
Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill
Aberdeen
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262389
Email: a.c.youngson@rgu.ac.uk