Complex Made Simple

Qatar SCH underscores importance of healthy workforce

Global experts to share insights and discuss issues about worker health protection initiatives and welfare strategies at first-ever Employee Health & Wellbeing Conference in Qatar

Towards the fulfilment of the aspirations embodied in the Qatar National Health Strategy (2011-2016) and the Qatar National Vision 2030, which counts Human Development as the first of its four pillars, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) of the State of Qatar has taken a major step forward in addressing health and wellbeing issues at the workplace by officially supporting Fleming Gulf in organising the ‘Employee Health & Wellbeing Conference’ for the first time ever in Qatar.

To be held under the patronage of H.E. Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Qahtani, Minister of Public Health, the inaugural edition of the conference is scheduled to take place from 11 to 13 October 2015 in Doha.

SCH aims, through this conference, to highlight some of today’s health and wellbeing issues and concerns faced by employees in a rapidly growing and fast-paced work environment. Thus, along with its primary mandate of promoting public health, encouraging healthy lifestyles, providing community-based primary care, and ensuring that the highest quality care is available, SCH aims to ensure that its citizens, residents and workforce achieve their full potential through the implementation of sound health and wellbeing initiatives and programs at the workplace.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Director of Public Health Department at SCH and guest panelist at the Conference emphasized the importance and priority that Qatar places on this aspect of human development.

“The State of Qatar is currently experiencing rapid business and economic growth and development,” Sheikh Dr. Mohammed said. “Driven mainly by the country’s unwavering commitment towards achieving all its aspirations as embodied in Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and Qatar National Health Strategy, the further expansion of its infrastructure and business activities have stimulated a constantly growing labour market, which in turn requires well-established health and wellbeing programs that will ensure a healthy and productive workforce,” he added.

“It is for these reasons that SCH has given top priority in seeking and acquiring the knowledge, inputs and insights of experts from all over the world, through academic and professional discussions in this conference, in order to come up with the desired framework as well as the further enhancement of existing health and wellbeing programs for employees in the various sectors in Qatar,” he concluded.

Under the main theme of ‘Global Action Plan: Promote Worker Health – Let the Business Thrive’, the conference will be drawing special attention towards propagating high quality healthcare for their major asset – human capital, within the current trend of cost optimization. With the aim of reducing the economic burdens of workplace injury and illness, the conference is designed to put the spotlight firmly on the efficient adoption of a sustainable prevention strategy to counter major occupational health threats and propel the wheel of sustainable development.

Emphasizing on the growing importance of workers’ health in a safety dominated industry, conference sessions will drill down into the specifics of Health as a business value, persuasive leadership in Occupational Health, evidence and risk based health surveillance, Psychosocial risks in the workplace, Industrial Hygiene in health preservation and promotion, Disaster Occupational Health Management and Remote & Rural Healthcare.

“The oil, gas and petrochemical industry remains vital to the economies of the GCC countries,” said Rob Sherwin, General Manager Corporate Affairs and Deputy Country Chairman of Qatar Shell and guest panelist at the conference. “Given the scale of energy industry projects and the inherent hazards involved, Qatar Shell and our partner Qatar Petroleum have been among those who have implemented and practised wide-ranging health and wellbeing programs. Our business strategy is about fostering a culture of care and concern for employee health and wellbeing. We believe that when employees are healthy and happy they thrive and deliver exceptional and sustainable company performance. It is therefore our desire to share some of our knowledge and experience in this field, as well as learn from others, in order to constantly improve such programs for the benefit of all workers,” he added.

“Increased globalization and technological advancements have posed wider occupational health challenges”, said Dr. Nigel Shanks, Chief Medical Officer of RasGas and member of the Conference Scientific Committee. “With the presence of highly acclaimed occupational health experts, I believe that this conference will encourage practitioners to adapt to rise against these challenges and keep worker health and welfare at the heart of their business framework,” he added.

“As a world-class energy supplier that constantly strives for excellence, RasGas will continue to focus on our strategic choices – People; Safety, Health and Environment; Reliability and Deliverability; and Cost Optimisation,” he added. Meanwhile, we will also maintain our safety culture by pledging ourselves to a safe workforce, plant and environment,” he concluded.

Among the target audience of the conference are industrial hygiene directors, managers, specialists and advisors; Occupational Health officials, specialists and teams; Chief Medical Officers and Leaders, including Occupational Physicians and Nurses; HSE officials; Wellness and wellbeing professionals; and Public Health officials. The key economic and business sectors that can greatly benefit from the discussions include: Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals; Utilities; Engineering & Construction; Mining; Government & Regulatory Bodies;, Manufacturing; Aluminium; Transportation (Air/Marine); and any other related industry susceptible to injuries and diseases.

As part of giving back to the society, Fleming Gulf has collaborated with Qatar Red Crescent Society as their CSR partner whereby a percentage of the conference proceeds will be directed towards the WEKAYA campaign initiated for preserving worker health and encouraging healthy behavior.

“We are extremely grateful to Fleming Gulf for this generous contribution,” said Saleh Ali Al-Muhanadi, Secretary General of the Qatar Red Crescent Society. “This will surely have a huge impact on WEKAYA campaign, an initiative that aims to raise further awareness among single male workers about communicable diseases through trainings conducted by expert medical teams,” he added.

Aside from the support of the Supreme Council of Health of the State of Qatar, the conference is being endorsed by the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), the Institute of Remote Healthcare, The Society of Occupational Medicine, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), IPIECA and AIHA.