The 43rd World Hospital Congress (WHC) kicked off today (Wednesday) under the patronage of H.E. Saiyyd Hamoud bin Faisal Al-Busaidi, Minister of Interior and in the presence of a number of ministers and undersecretaries at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center (OCEC).

The four-day Congress is hosted by the Sultanate, represented by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and organized by the International Hospital Federation (IHF).

Under the overarching theme "People at the Heart of Health Services in Peace and Crisis", the Congress includes more than 40 sessions and panel discussions to address the most pressing issues in the global healthcare sector. It gathers more than 600 medical cadres of various public and private health institutions across the world.

In this regard, H.E. Dr. Al-Saidi pointed out that hospitals are playing a significant role in improving human resources, technologies and the protocols of treatment for various diseases. The essential role of the hospitals as a center for preventive, curative and rehabilitative services makes them an urgent necessity all over the world.

He also added that construction state-of-the-art equipped hospitals, development of specialized medical cadres, and integrating the role of the hospitals within an integrated health system has been given vital importance as part of the development programs and plans, as well as adopted and implemented by the government of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said throughout the blessed Renaissance.

The WHC of the IHF is a unique global forum that brings together leaders of national and international hospital healthcare organizations to discuss key drivers of national and international policy, management, financial trends and solutions in healthcare management and service delivery.

The Congress addresses the crucial role of the hospitals in supporting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Primary Health Care (PHC) and how they contribute to reshaping the health systems and impact on the quality of population life and prosperity in the community.

More topics on health innovations are going to be highlighted in detail through presenting a number of digital transformation experiences in the successful healthcare systems such as the experiences of Catalonia and Taiwan, as well as the achievements of the Omani Ministry of Health in the field of E-health.

Dr. Francisco R. Balestrin, IHF President pointed out to the deep transformations, which have taken hospitals to a completely different level. He added that healthcare systems in the world are going through a process of complete transformation. Healthcare sustainability and the need to provide access at affordable prices, taking into consideration the patient experience, is a complex equation to solve, which has driven hospital organizations all over the world to resort to transformational initiatives. For examples, in recent years, we have been frequently addressing the topic of value-based healthcare.

The IHF President stated that the IHF, in its 90 years of existence, has reached significant global representation. One of its missions is to promote discussions among healthcare organizations, supporting knowledge and experience exchange and best practices sharing.

Digital transformation is another extremely relevant factor that leads us to our purpose of providing more comprehensive and cost-effective healthcare.

In its 43rd session, the WHC highlights a number of health challenges such as access to hospital services for Palestine refugees: the challenges of UNRWA in difficult times, the role of hospitals in times of crisis, and the role of patients in times of peace and crisis from self-empowerment to social mobilization.

Furthermore, the Congress also touches upon the hospitals and health systems that driving community health and prosperity, the role of hospitals and health services in support of population well-being, the innovation in hospital care, and the digital ecosystem in Catalonia.

In partnership with the IHF and other international hospital organizations, the Minister of Health announced the launch of an international award called "Oman". The IHF Awards honors hospitals and health service provider organizations for innovation, excellence, outstanding achievements and best practices in areas that are worthy of international recognition. These areas are including governance, leadership, management policies and practices, quality service delivery in multiple areas at affordable costs; motivating healthcare professionals to excel; innovations in healthcare delivery or process management; quality and safety, ethical approaches and evidence-based practices in patient-centered care; sustainable environment, energy conservation and green initiatives; addressing inequalities in healthcare service delivery to the community; and advancing healthcare for emerging and developing nations.

"As you all know, hospitals play a vital role in health service delivery systems. That makes them essential for universal health coverage. We must stop dichotomizing between primary care (first-level care) and hospitals (referral care). Universal health coverage can only be achieved if both elements work together: quality primary care requires quality referral care, and vice versa" H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean said in his keynote speech.

Al-Mandhari also stressed the hospital sector needs to be transformed; we need to scrutinize hospital roles, functions and operations through an integrated and people-centred lens. He added that Hospital transformation entails: finding new ways of integrating hospital services within the broader service delivery system, particularly primary health care; engaging and empowering communities and other social services; improving hospital management and performance; and creating an enabling environment.

WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean highlighted the transformation of the hospital sector that can be achieved through two complementary inter-related approaches: hospitals for integrated health systems and integrated health services within hospitals.

It is worth mentioning that pre-Congress sessions have been conducted on "Economics for Healthcare Leaders" and the "Fast Forward" initiative for community-and person-centered hospitals and health services at the OCEC.

Source: Ministry of Health-Sultanate of Oman