Living in the Middle East can provide some experiences which will be different to those encountered in the Western world. Healthcare will not be any different.

This information is intended to help create awareness of some health challenges one might encounter while living in Qatar. It provides links to some resources and provides some recommendations to make living with those challenges easier.

Will the change in environment affect
known medical conditions?

Qatar is a desert country. Temperatures are at times very high and humid, annual rainfall is very low and the air can be very dusty. However, at many times of the year the conditions are very pleasant.

The health and safety regulations in Qatar have not yet been developed to the point that they are in Canada, but research and development continues.

High humidity often contributes to development of conditions, both on campus and in home environments that may affect individuals who have ongoing diagnosed medical conditions. Condensation and mold are good examples of this. The College and the landlords endeavour to control those conditions as much as is possible; however, challenges persist.

The use of perfumes and cigarette smoking are common in Middle Eastern cultures and sometimes create further medical challenges for those with allergies, sensitivities and chronic respiratory conditions. Be reminded that the evolution of scent-free and smoke-free environments, in Canada and other Western countries, happened after many years of research, education and promotion. The Middle East is involved in a similar journey. Research on associated health risks and public awareness initiatives are ongoing and is evident through such activities as anti-tobacco campaigns. As you prepare to move to Qatar, please be aware of the following facts. If you or one of your family members has any medical conditions that may be affected by such exposures, please consult with your family physician or specialist.

Be aware that:

  • Heavy dust is common due to the dry desert environment.
  • Cigarette smoking is still permitted in public areas such as hotels and restaurants. However, it is not permitted in malls.
  • There is a high use of scented products in all environments, as it is culturally acceptable.
  • There is minimal control on the types of cleaning products used in common areas such as apartment buildings and shopping malls.
  • Education regarding the harmful health effects from exposure to cigarette smoke, pesticides and chemicals has begun but is still in the early stages.
  • Accommodations for CNA-Q employees are provided by the State of Qatar. Building standards may not be as regulated as you are accustomed to.
  • Due to the frequent periods of high humidity, condensation and mold is common to all environments.

Should you or a family member have an allergy severe enough to carry an EpiPen (Epinephrine), it is advisable to bring it with you as you travel from your home country. In Qatar, both the junior and adult forms of this medication are available at some of the hospital pharmacies but are not available at the community pharmacies.

Availability of medical services

The State of Qatar offers a very comprehensive, competent and accessible healthcare system both in the private and public sectors (inclusive of Dental and Ophthalmology services). For more information, visit http://www.sch.gov.qa/home-en

Employees will be guided by Human Resources to make application to receive health cards for the employee and their dependant family members as they become eligible within the Qatar residency process.

The College has its own customized healthcare insurance plan that best reflects the needs of its employees. Employees, inclusive of dependant family members, become active within the policy upon the date of departure from the home country. The plan provides ongoing health insurance for employees and dependants while living in Qatar and while visiting other countries, including their home country. Details of the plan are provided upon arrival at CNA-Q, including a comprehensive list of healthcare facilities (within Qatar and in other countries) offering a direct billing service.

Current Immunization Schedule in State of Qatar

Visit www.hmc.org.qa and under the Main Menu click on Immunization. Look under Related Links and click on Schedule for your baby. Here you may view the immunization schedule for your child plus more.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required for Canadians to enter Qatar however it is best for you to check with your health care provider or http://www.cdc.gov/travel/ when considering any travel.

When planning holidays: International
Travel Vaccinations

Living in Qatar provides great opportunities for world travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers' Health provides a good resource for information on international travel, including vaccinations recommended and required for various countries. To view this information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. Employees are encouraged to become aware of their vaccination needs as travel is planned. Vaccination clinics are available in Qatar. Questions may be addressed at CNA-Q to both the Campus Nurse and Occupational Health & Safety Nurse. However, it is recommended to visit an International Travel Clinic in your country at least 6-8 weeks prior to departure. This allows time to obtain the necessary vaccines and the time to develop immunity following vaccination.

Take note that vaccination for Yellow Fever is required for travel to some locations in Africa and other countries.

It is advisable to be alert to this information. Anti-malarial medication is recommended for some areas of travel, with the medication of choice being Malarone (atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride). It is advisable to discuss choice of anti-malarials with a physician due to malaria resistance in various regions. Your choice of anti-malarial may not always be available in Qatar; thus, it is advisable to bring the medication with you.

As transmission of malaria is via a malaria parasite-infected mosquito, it is recommended to use a mosquito repellent in addition to anti-malarials. Those containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are very effective but are unavailable in many countries. There are precautions to be aware of when using DEET. Ask your pharmacist or physician about them. It is advisable to bring this product with you if needed. Malaria is not a risk in Qatar.

prescription medications

There are many pharmacies in Qatar and availability of prescription medication is very good. However some medication may not be available. It is strongly advised to check the availability of any regular prescription medication that you may be taking that could potentially be unavailable in Qatar. In the event that a medication is unavailable, it is advisable to bring a supply to last until returning to the home country. Help in determining availability of medication in Qatar can be accessed by contacting XN Global Service Center at:

1-866-286-4076
Toll Free - Canada and USA
+800-9623-6837
Toll Free - Outside North America

If toll free numbers are not available, call collect at 1-514-843-9604 Email:

Employee assistance program (EAP)

EAP is available to CNA-Q employees and families. Full details of the program is available via the Intranet, Human Resources Resources Available at CNA-Q Campus.

Resources Available at CNA-Q Campus

CNA-Q has a full-time Campus Nurse responsible for providing Health Care and First Aid and promoting Health and Wellness Education to students and employees.

In Case of Emergency

The 24-hour number for Campus Emergencies is 4495 2999. For off-campus emergencies the number in Qatar is 999.