Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) hosted an event aimed at assessing and debating Doha’s current architectural transformation.
Leading architects and sustainability experts descended upon Hamad Bin Khalifa University Student Centre, for the event titled ‘Can Sustainable Experimental Architecture with Respect for Cultural Heritage Exist?’ on Monday, to discuss keeping Qatar’s culture, traditions and values alive when planning major architectural projects.
Experts at the event agreed that identifying a cohesive, balanced approach to Doha’s urban planning is of prime importance when keeping up with the ever changing face of global architectural trends seen in Qatar.
Doha’s rapid urbanization in the wake of major development and infrastructure projects, which is helping Qatar achieve the main objectives outlined in the Qatar National Vision (QNV2030), has brought about an increase in new architectural themes to the country.
Dr Yasser Mahgoub, Head of department of Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Engineering at Qatar University, said: “Qatar is becoming a “laboratory” for architectural experiments that lack theoretical scientific guidance. New projects are replacing invaluable traditional environments at a rapid pace. This process can be effectively slowed down only through increasing awareness and facilitating public participation in urban and architectural decision making.”
He added: “Architecture is the mirror of society. Architectural identity should not be imposed on people and buildings. It is a result of what people “think and do” during a particular period of history influenced by economic, ecologic and cultural variables.”
One of the world’s leading cardiologists explained a variety of advanced interventional procedures used to treat adults with congenital heart disease in the latest installment of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s (WCMC-Q) Grand Rounds.
Professor Ziyad M Hijazi, Chief Medical Officer (Acting) and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Sidra Medical and Research Center, spoke about the latest developments in interventional therapies to repair common congenital and structural heart disorders such as atrial and ventricular septal defects (also known as hole in the heart), pulmonary valve stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary valve), aortic valve stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve) and patent foramen ovale, which is when an opening between the upper two chambers of the heart does not close after birth as it should.
Prof. Hijazi, who is also Director of the Sidra Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, explained how cardiac interventionalists use advanced techniques, equipment and instruments to repair heart defects, often using a sophisticated catheter device to access the heart through an artery or vein in the groin, removing the need for opening the chest cavity.
Incredibly, Prof. Hijazi and his colleagues have refined a surgical procedure to repair an atrial septal defect (hole in the heart) to such a degree that it can now be safely performed under local anesthetic with the patient remaining conscious throughout. Each year, approximately 5,000 children are born with atrial septal defects in the United States alone. An estimated one million children and one million adults in the United States have some form of congenital heart disease.
Speaking at WCMC-Q to an audience of physicians, researchers, students and healthcare professionals, Prof. Hijazi said: “One of the nice things about the patient remaining conscious for this procedure is that we can now allow them to be accompanied by a loved one during the operation, which brings them great comfort. Additionally, because we are using local anesthetic, the patient can often return home the same day.”
In the procedure, Prof. Hijazi and his team use the catheter device to insert a special disc called an Amplatzer occluder made of braided nitinol – a sophisticated metal alloy of nickel and titanium - to close the hole between the two atria, allowing the heart to function normally. If left untreated, the hole causes more blood to flow to the lungs, which over time can cause the blood vessels there to become damaged. In adulthood this can lead to problems such as high pulmonary blood pressure, heart failure, electrical problems and increased risk of stroke.
Prof. Hijazi was the primary investigator who led the trials and pioneered the use and testing of Amplatzer occluders in the United States, leading to the device gaining approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in children and adults. A prolific researcher, Prof. Hijazi has more than 290 peer-reviewed published articles to his name and has authored six books and more than 40 book chapters.
Prof. Hijazi said: “Approximately 10 percent of all congenital heart defects are atrial septal defects and in my experience more than 90 percent of cases can be repaired using a septal occluder device. For children and adults who are affected by this heart defect, making this repair can greatly improve their quality of life and also extend their lifetime, in some cases by many decades.”
Dr Thurayya Arayssi, WCMC-Q’s Associate Dean of Continuing Professional Development, said: “It is our great privilege to welcome Professor Hijazi here to explain a truly fascinating field of medicine to us. The development of highly advanced surgical techniques in the field of heart medicine, such as those pioneered by Dr Hijazi, give hope to the millions of people worldwide whose lives are blighted by congenital and structural heart defects.”
Qatar Foundation (QF) has highlighted the international certification of several of its member organizations at a high-profile recognition ceremony attended by the organization’s Group Executive Director Administration, Mr Fahad Saad Al Qahtani and Mr Jassim Telfat, the Group Executive Director – Capital Projects and Facilities Management.
Held at Education City, the event saw the Ambassador of France to Qatar, His Excellency Eric Chevallier, present an array of awards and sought-after workplace standards certificates granted to QF by Bureau Veritas, a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification.
Amongst those honored at the ceremony were representatives of QF member Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), QF’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Directorate and QF’s IT Directorate, with His Excellency noting that all have maintained “a culture of excellence,” whilst working to achieve QF’s mission to unlock human potential.
Mr Al Qahtani said: “At QF, we believe that certifying ourselves to international standards achieves certain strategic goals for us as an organization, because it ensures our operations are efficient and that we are providing a high quality, safe and welfare-conscious environment. This, in turn, ensures we are fully utilizing our potential as we look to establish a high-performing and collaborative culture here in Qatar. We are delighted to be joined at this ceremony by our friends from the French Embassy in Doha and to be recognizing the consistently high standards that this organization has displayed since its founding 20 years ago.”
In November 2014, ROTA became the first organization in Qatar and the first NGO in the Middle East to earn the international SA8000:2008 certification. This sought-after standards certificate is awarded to organizations that can display policies and procedures that protect basic human rights in the workplace. Meanwhile, in October 2014, ROTA also achieved ISO9001:2008 certification, an esteemed quality management achievement that recognizes the consistency and impact of the organizations programs.
Also present at the ceremony was Mr Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, Qatar Foundation’s Executive Director of Operations, who collected a recognition certificate on behalf of QF’s IT Directorate. In March this year, QF was re-issued with the internationally acclaimed ISO 27001:2013 certification, widely seen as the gold-standard for managing information security risks and information handling processes.
In addition, QF’s HSSE Executive Director Sheikha Amal Al-Thani, also received an honorary certificate in recognition of the two international compliance certifications that her Directorate has been re-awarded over the last 12 months. Both the ISO 14001:2004 and the OHSAS 18001:2007 certificates follow vigorous audits over the past three years that confirm QF’s consistent commitment to health, safety and environmental standards in its offices.
Commenting on these achievements, Sheikha Amal Al-Thani said: “At Qatar Foundation, we are paving the way at a regional level for consistently high health, safety and environmental standards within the workplace. It is an honor to have our efforts highlighted at an occasion such as this, and I am grateful to His Excellency for his kind words of recognition. I would like to share this achievement with all those who have assisted QF as we look to reduce workplace accidents, illnesses, and our environmental impact, whilst enhancing the welfare of all of our valued staff.”