Respiratory diseases constitute 12pc of total cases at HMC

January 28, 2014 - 4:23:50 am
DOHA: Respiratory diseases constitute about 12 percent of the total cases at the Emergency Department of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) but despite their high prevalence, no proper studies have been conducted about their impact on public health and the economy, according to an expert at HMC.

“Respiratory diseases are very common in Qatar but no clear data is available about their prevalence and economic cost,” Dr Saad Abdul Fattah Al Noaimi, consultant at the department told a local Arabic daily. 

He said the cost of treatment and medicine and the lost working hours due to the disease have to be taken into consideration. 

In the US, the cost of respiratory illnesses is estimated at $17bn to $25bn annually.

Internal diseases constitute a high 16 percent of the total cases at the department while accidents and injuries are reported in significant numbers — about five percent.

Al Noaimi said the department is one of the most crowded emergency units in the world, with 1,200 to 1,500 visitors daily.

“According to international standards, any emergency unit with more than 400 visitors daily is considered as crowded,” said Al Noaimi.

He said services at the department would become faster, when it moves to an electronic system by the end of this year. This system has been implemented in Al Khor Hospital emergency. This will end paper work and the department will be linked electronically with other emergency sections in the country.

Al Noaimi said the department is still overburdened with non-emergency cases. 

About 70 to 80 percent of the cases do not need emergency care and can be treated in a primary health centre.

Communicating with expat labourers not familiar with Arabic language is also a problem for many doctors.

The department has introduced a triaging system to identify the most urgent cases. The cases are classified into five categories and only those included in the first and second categories are considered urgent.

“ Sometimes people with a simple tooth pain comes to our department despite that we don’t have a section to treat them,” said Al Noaimi.

He said the high quality of treatment as well as examinations is the major factor that draws more people to the department.

There are 12 rooms for MERS and respiratory infections. 

“Daily we see risky viral infections and we isolate them for laboratory tests. We are very concerned about MERS because the mortality rate in such cases is high — 30 to 40 percent worldwide,” said Al Noaimi.

The Peninsula