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Qatar's HMC achieves world first

Qatar has achieved a world first in healthcare following the accreditation of all of the country’s Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) hospitals by the Joint Commission International. With this prestigious achievement HMC becomes the first health system in the world to be fully accredited by the JCI. Being accredited by JCI is no easy feat. It is a rigorous process to ensure the highest standards of patient safety and healthcare quality are provided by accredited facilities and is considered the gold standard in healthcare accreditation.

Research on the Zika virus is producing new findings on an almost daily basis. Some of the latest, and quite troubling, findings show that the virus appears to cause neurological disorders in some people infected by the mosquito-borne disease. One such neurological disorder – acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain’s myelin, similar to multiple sclerosis – has been found in a number of infected people covered in a small study. Zika has already been shown to be linked to microcephaly in newborns from infected mothers. To date the disease has not spread to the Middle East region, although the Aedes mosquito that transmits the virus to humans is present in at least eight countries in the region. The regional office of the WHO has issued guidelines in an effort to keep the virus at bay.

While on the subject of viruses, researchers at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new SARS-like virus which they say is poised to infect humans. They say the ability of WIV1-CoV (coronavirus), found in Chinese horseshoe bats, “to jump into humans is greater than we originally thought”. Their concern is that the virus does not need to adapt in order to infect humans and could potentially lead to an outbreak similar to that of SARS “with significant consequences for both public health and the global economy”.

Also in this issue, we report on a number of interesting developments in healthcare, including a massive undertaking by the United Nations and partners to finally stamp out polio. The initiative will replace the trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) with a bivalent OPV (bOPV) for routine immunisation in 155 countries and territories. The vaccine replacement initiative, due to have begun late April, will be the largest and fastest globally coordinated rollout of a vaccine into routine immunization programmes in history.

There is a lot more regional, global and healthcare research news in this issue, read on.

Callan Emery

(May-Jun 2016)

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