Helping to improve the lives of kids with chronic conditions in the Middle East

The 12 children were moved in early December from a pediatric intensive care step-down unit to a children’s rehabilitation unit in Qatar’s capital city of Doha. The unit offers more freedom for mobility, and is designed to support a variety of innovative, therapeutic programs not previously available in their acute hospital setting. “When we started working on this project, I met children who had never been out of bed before”, says Chitra Gnanasebesan, Respiratory Therapist, Holland Bloorview.  “Nearly two months after the move, many of these same children are up and interacting with their families and loved ones.”

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Hon. Sandra Pupatello, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director, Hamad Medical Corporation, and Cathy Seguin, Vice President, International Affairs.

This move is a significant milestone in a venture between SickKids and Hamad Medical Corporation.  A year ago, SickKids entered a partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation to advise on the development and operation of a brand-new state-of-the-art children’s hospital in Doha.  SickKids engaged Holland Bloorview, experts in pediatric rehab and complex continuing care, to consult on developing services for children who are chronically ventilated and build rehabilitation capacity for children with congenital and acquired medical conditions.

“It is rewarding to see our expertise and innovations being implemented in other parts of the globe and having a significant impact on improving the quality of life of children worldwide,” says Cathy Seguin, Vice President of International Affairs at SickKids. “Our strategy is to share our knowledge and help other organizations build capacity in their own countries.”  

As the one-year anniversary of the partnership is marked on February 7, the changes at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) are already brightening the lives of children and their families. One staff member shared a story about a chronically ventilated inpatient boy and his twin sister. The little girl did not enjoy visiting her brother at the previous facility. Following the move to the new building, the twin came reluctantly to see her brother, not realizing how different it would be. Not long after arriving, she looked at her mother, and said “I want to come here every day.”

“The development of what is now the Al Maha unit started eight years ago in an effort to provide a more appropriate environment for the children,” said Dr Ibrahim Janahi, Senior Consultant and Head of Pediatric Pulmonology at HMC. “The new unit provides a more stimulating and more cheerful environment for the children and their families. We’re also providing cost-efficient care, given that intensive care is generally more expensive.”

“Working on this project in Qatar has been one of the most exciting projects of my career. It’s simply amazing to work with clinicians who are taking such a significant leap forward in how they practice,” says Irene Simpson, Clinical Manager and Project Advisor, Holland Bloorview.

Media Contacts:

Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
(416) 813-6380

Gen Scott,
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
(416) 425-6220 ext. 6409

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.  We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. Every year, we see about 7,000 children with about 600 inpatient admissions and 58,000 outpatient visits.

About Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)
Hamad Medical Corporation is the premier non-profit health care provider in Doha, Qatar.  It was established by Emiri decree in 1979 and manages five highly specialized hospitals, namely, Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Al Amal Hospital and Al Khor Hospital.  Since its establishment, HMC has rapidly developed medical facilities capable of providing state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of diseases that previously could only be managed in overseas medical centers.

HMC prides itself in providing quality and cost efficient health care for all patients regardless of nationality, in line with the State of Qatar’s pledge of “Health for All”.  For this purpose, the Corporation implements a policy of continuous improvement of all management systems and patient care protocols. HMC’s ethos is based on three key pillars which are Health, Education and Research.

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For more information, please contact:
Marketing and Public Relations Department
Hamad Medical Corporation
Phone.: +974 439 6126
Fax.: +974 439 5002