Expressing similar views, World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the lessons learned from Qatar’s experience during this World Cup "will help us all in designing health and safety measures for other large-scale events".
They were speaking at the opening session of the Qatar Health 2022 and 2nd Qatar Public Health Conference, which HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health (MoPH) inaugurated on Thursday.
During his opening remarks, Infantino said: “In this special World Cup year, FIFA is working in partnership with Qatar and WHO, with whom we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver the tournament with an impactful, sustainable and lasting model that promotes health, wellbeing and security, and sets a benchmark for future sporting events of this scale. The project is drawn up based on an approach prioritising awareness raising and both the promotion and security of health, with a particular focus on mass gatherings. The healthy FIFA World Cup 2022 will create a long-lasting legacy for sport and health.”
"The lessons learned from Qatar’s experience during this World Cup will help us all in designing health and safety measures for other large-scale events. WHO also very much appreciates Qatar’s support last year for the Act Together campaign for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and tests, as well as for WHO’s work in emergency operations in Afghanistan. It is a privilege to work with FIFA and Qatar in support of WHO’s mission to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.”
More than 4000 healthcare professionals are virtually attending the conference. The four-day conference is held as part of the healthcare sector’s preparations for the FIFA Qatar World Cup 2022.
Infantino, Ghebreyesus and HE Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy were among the speakers at the opening of the conference.
HE Dr al-Kuwari said Qatar’s successful Covid-19 approach was “built on a whole government approach – on local and global partnerships and an engaged community”.
“Our FIFA World Cup 2022 readiness is built on these same core principles. I am excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and I am confident that we have the expertise, experience and commitment within our healthcare community to achieve our goals,” she said.
“The coming months will be an incredibly exciting period for everyone living in Qatar as preparations intensify for FIFA World Cup 2022. As healthcare workers we have an extraordinarily important role to play and this will bring with it added pressures but this is an opportunity to be part of something truly special and I know that, like me, you are approaching this challenge with enthusiasm and excitement.”
HE Dr al-Kuwari said that Qatar’s healthcare teams have been preparing for the tournament for many years and had extensive experience with large-scale events and gatherings.
“They have been involved in large-scale tournaments hosted in Doha including the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 as well as the recent FIFA Arab Cup,” HE the minister said. “Our teams now have a wealth of experience in delivering services for major events and gatherings in Qatar and I am confident we are well prepared to meet the demands of the FIFA World Cup 2022.”
The conference includes sessions covering the pandemic which will highlight the comprehensive measures implemented by Qatar’s healthcare system throughout the past two years to confront the virus, measures which have been central to Qatar having one of the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates in the world as well as one of the highest vaccination rates.
The Qatar Health 2022 and 2nd Qatar Public Health Conference is led by three co-chairs, each leaders in their fields: Dr AbdulWahab al-Musleh, Advisor Consultant to Minister of Public Health, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for CIS – HMC; Dr Hassan Ali Saoud al-Thani, Head of Vascular and Trauma Surgery, HMC; and Dr Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani, Director of Public Health Department at the Ministry of Public Health.