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Shura Council Approves Draft Laws and Discusses Education, Environment and Health Matters

24 June 2019

  • newsimage
  • newsimage

The Shura Council held today its regular weekly meeting under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Ahmed Bin Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud, the Speaker of the Council.

At the beginning of the meeting the Council discussed the report of its Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee on the Draft Law on Regulating the Receiving and Spending Zakat Money. After the discussion, the Council approved the Draft Law and decided to submit its recommendations to the esteemed Government.

The Council then discussed the two reports of its Economic and the Financial Affairs Committee on the Draft Law on Regulating the Audit Profession and the Draft Law on Regulating Partnership between the Public and Private Sectors.

After the discussion the Council approved both Draft Laws after undergoing a few amendments on some articles and decided to submit its recommendations on the amended Draft Laws to the esteemed Government.

The Council also discussed the supplementary report of its Information and Cultural Affairs Committee on the Request for a Public Debate on Education. The Committee confirmed its previous recommendations, which were stated through four aspects, and added a few more based on the comments of the Council members. For the curriculum development aspect, the Committee recommended to focus on the Arabic language and Islamic education to promote the students' national identity, wherein Arabic and Islamic values constitute the most important pillars. In addition to according importance to the students' social and life skills, which help them deal with the community, their peers and  with others in accordance to the indigenous Qatari social custom, in addition to develop the quality of education so as to cope with requirements of development

On the students aspect, the Committee further added a recommendation to take the needed procedures to enroll more male and female students with special needs in education process so that these procedures would enable them to attain the required education which commensurate with their special needs. The Committee also recommended to re-evaluate education vouchers and to review the feasibility of its continuity. It also recommended to review the length of the academic year and to standardize vacations between public and private schools. On the teacher aspect, the Committee added a recommendation to raise the salaries of supervisors as they are of value due to their experience in education and their role in monitoring teachers' performance and developing their skills.

The Council discussed the supplementary report of its Public Services and Utilities Committee on the Request for Public Debate submitted by a number of members of the Council on the terrestrial and marine environment. The Committee recommended future plans aimed at establishing waste recycling plants to benefit from it to generate power or converting organic waste to compost. In addition to working on the safe disposal and treatment of wastewater for use in irrigating afforestation projects in different regions of the country with the participation of the private sector to enter these projects and economically benefit from them as much as possible.

The Committee also recommended to prepare a media plan to preserve the environment as it is one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030, in coordination with esteemed Governmental entities, private sector and civil society institutions. The media plans will involve carrying out intense awareness programs on the importance of preserving the environment and highlighting the importance of laws and environment preserving organizations. In addition to qualifying and training inspectors that are in charge of protecting the environment and increasing their numbers in accordance with the requirements and needs.

In its report the Committee recommended to develop the procedures and means used to preserve the marine environment, especially the fisheries and to emphasize the prevention of overfishing and to increase the care for natural reserves and the protection of the land in aim to protect the wild environment in most regions of the country. In addition the Committee recommended developing the solid waste disposal methods to gradually abandon traditional methods of disposal of burying them under the soil as currently practiced. This is with the aim of finding practical solutions for the disposal of the existing landfills because of their environmental and health damage the leakage of harmful gases and odors causes. In addition it aims to finding a database to show the pollution percentage in the marine, terrestrial and air environment and to provide the competent authorities with it periodically to include all areas, industrial and residential.

The Council also discussed the report of its Public Services and the Utilities Committee on the Request for a General Debate by number of members of the Council members on Health Services in the State of Qatar.

The report of the Committee came after the studying it and hearing the views of the Council's members in presence of H.E. the Minister of Public Health at the Council's weekly meeting held on June 17th, 2019.

The Committee recommended that priority be given to providing medical services to Qatari nationals, taking into account the priority of emergency treatment for all patients.

The Committee provided recommendations on four aspects. On the aspect  of the development of the performance of health centers by increasing medical specialties in health centers to reduce pressure on outpatient clinics and in the governmental hospitals. It also recommended the increase of the list of medicines distributed according to geographical distribution, to meet the needs of patients in different regions of Qatar. It also advised the development of the medical appointment system in the health centers for Qatari patients by giving them the priority to meet the doctors.

On the aspect of development of the medical appointment system, the Committee recommended the development of the schedule of outpatient clinics to ensure priority differentiation to determine medical appointments between urgent medical cases, which cannot afford delays and ordinary medical conditions, which does not endanger the patient's life as well as reduction of pressure due long waiting periods.

The Committee also recommended promoting the Qatarization of jobs in the appointments departments of Hamad Medical Corporation and its affiliated institutions and hospitals, which will lead to a positive impact on those departments, as they consider the various social cases of the patients, particularly the Qatari patients. It suggested the increase the time period allocated for patients with the doctors and consultants in order to reduce the repetitive appointments, which will have a positive effect of easing of appointments pressure.

As regard to the aspect of t development of emergency departments, the Committee recommended that the developing of the appropriate system that categorized patients to ensure that emergency cases are received at Hamad General Hospital and non-emergency cases are treated in health centers that have emergency service in order to reduce long waiting periods. It also suggested ensuring the provision of health insurance suitable for employees in private sector companies to be able to receive non-emergency cases, as it will help reduce the pressure on the emergency departments.

Furthermore, the Committee urged re-implementation of citizens' health insurance, while correcting the mistakes of the previous experience, in order to achieve the benefit of the citizens by meeting their needs of health services whether provided by the government sector or the private sector. It also suggested allowing the national private insurance sector to participate in the application of the health insurance system for citizens. It added the state can get the benefit of the experience and flexibility of the national private insurance sector in the application of health insurance system for citizens, especially in terms of operational and administrative, and to achieve the advancement of this important aspect of the national private sector.

On the aspect of development of the operation theatres and beds, the Committee commended the efforts made by the Ministry of Public Health in providing home care and recommended increasing the provision of home-based medical services.

It also recommended working on increasing the beds and the rooms allocated for surgical operations, and exploring the possibility of the participation of the private sector in terms of providing the appropriate medical workforce, which is an obstacle to the optimal use of the current and future surgical operations rooms. It urged to take measures to reduce the waiting period for citizens to conduct operations, so as to ensure that they do not have to resort to operations in the local private sector or to travel abroad. It called for the development of the system and procedures for patients not to enter the operations theatres only after making sure that the operation is ready in terms of availability of the operations room and medical staff, to avoid unjustified bed occupancy and to reduce the burden on patients.

After extensive discussions, the Council approved the three reports on the Request for a General Debate on Education, the Terrestrial and Marine Environment, and Situation of Health Services in Qatar, adding what it deemed appropriate and decided to submit its recommendations thereon to the esteemed Government.

The Council recommended instructing the competent authority to verify the availability of health insurance in the application for a visit visa before approving it to ensure the optimal use of governmental health facilities and not to use the approval of the visit visa to access public health services free of charge, or at the lowest prices because of its negative impact on health services provided to citizens and residents.