Qatar / Health

Mass casualty simulation exercise held ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Published: 21 Aug 2022 - 03:21 pm | Last Updated: 21 Aug 2022 - 03:23 pm
Director of Health Emergency at the MoPH, Dr Mohammed Al Hajri

Director of Health Emergency at the MoPH, Dr Mohammed Al Hajri

The Peninsula

Doha: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), held a mass casualty simulation exercise on Wednesday, August 17, titled ‘Public health sector response during a national level mass casualty incident’. 

The simulation exercise as organized through the three-year partnership between MoPH, WHO, FIFA, and the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) which aims to deliver a safe and healthy event with a lasting sport and health impact. 

The exercise aimed to test the emergency response operations of the healthcare system and included participation from MoPH, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Sidra Medicine and the National Health Incident Command Center (NHICC). Located in HMC’s Ambulance Service headquarters, the NHICC brings together these healthcare organizations to coordinate the healthcare sector’s response to major incidents. 

Director of Health Emergency at the MoPH, Dr Mohammed Al Hajri explained the importance of holding the simulation exercise. “An estimated 1.5 million fans are expected to come to Qatar to attend this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches. To ensure the safety of players, officials, visiting fans and local residents throughout the tournament, MoPH has been working closely with our partners in the healthcare sector, and with experts from WHO, to put a robust set of measures in place to mitigate any potential public health risks.”

“The aim of this simulation exercise was to test our emergency response plans in a controlled environment ahead of the tournament, to evaluate their effectiveness, and to modify our plans and protocols as needed,” added Dr Al Hajri.

Qatar has a wealth of experience in hosting high-profile sporting events in recent years and the healthcare system has played an important role in supporting the successful running of these tournaments. In the past three years alone, healthcare teams have been involved in Qatar’s hosting of large-scale tournaments including the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 and the FIFA Arab Cup 2021. 

Dr Rayana Bou Haka, WHO Representative and Head of Qatar Country Office, said: “This simulation exercise is the latest of a series of workshops and exercises the WHO is delivering this year in collaboration with MoPH ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The focus of this exercise was to test and evaluate the emergency operations functions of the health sector during a national level mass casualty incident in which significant numbers of patients required transfer and admission to hospital.”

The simulation exercise was delivered under the Health Security pillar of the partnership between MoPH, WHO, FIFA, and SC. The pillar aims to put safety and security at the center of the tournament, with a specific focus on risk assessment, mass gathering protocols inside and outside stadiums, event-based surveillance to protect people from infectious disease outbreaks and risk communications.