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JustHere | May 22, 2015

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Ashghal launches Shared Services Affairs contact centre for employees

May 21, 2015 |

As part of its continuing efforts to achieve operational efficiency, the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has launched the shared services contact center to enable employees to access all the services it provides by contacting a sole entity.

The Shared Services Affairs contact centre receives staff calls, responds to employee’s inquiries, meets their requests, and follows up with them. The centre comprises a team of four employees trained to deal with callers inquiries and to meet their requests in accordance with the authority they have which enables them to access staff databases in order to address their demands. The team also processes, registers and classifies each request with a sequential number, in special databases and follows up on those requests until they are processed.

The services provided by the Shared Services Affairs contact centre include receiving requests and inquiries related to the human resources department, namely services related to salaries, leaves, and all kinds of allowances, as well as exit procedures, training courses, official duties, and other HR services. The call center also handles all the IT requests and inquiries such as hardware requests, requests to extend and repair networks, as well as requests to activate the applications adopted in Ashghal, in addition to other IT services.

With regards to the services provided by the Financial Affairs Department, personnel from the contact centre receive calls regarding governmental housing, furniture allowance expense, financial approvals, payment requests, etc. Furthermore, the call center receives calls regarding office furniture orders, access and exit cards, vehicles parking, guests housing, and all the services provided by the General Services Department.

The purpose of the shared services contact centre is to save the employees’ time and effort and to provide immediate response to all their inquiries and follow up on their request to ensure it is managed as swiftly as possible. Since the launching shared services contact centre, it has been taking around 1150 and 1300 staff requests and inquiries per month.

HMC advises patients with Type 1 diabetes to not fast during Ramadan

May 20, 2015 | 1

Hamad General Hospital (HGH) and Al Wakra Hospital (AWH) – members of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) – recently launched a series of lectures aimed at raising public awareness of diabetes mellitus and specifically safe fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Dr. Ibrahim Al Tereky, Senior Consultant Endocrinology/Diabetes and Head of the National Diabetes Center at AWH, advised individuals with type 1 diabetes, especially those with cardiac and kidney conditions, as well as pregnant women with diabetes, to not fast. He explained that this category of patients is at high risk of developing severe complications if they fast.

He said type 2 diabetics can fast while taking some special precautions, such as consulting their physicians before the start of Ramadan to learn how to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and to review their medication regimen, including doses and their medication schedule. “It is recommended for any type 2 diabetic who wishes to fast to delay Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal‎) until the last possible time and to consume plenty of water between Iftar (breaking fast at sunset) and Suhoor to avoid dehydration,” he suggested.

Al Tereky also stressed the importance of monitoring blood glucose levels regularly during the fast by making several blood checks a day, especially in the first days of Ramadan. He advised patients to avoid sleeping during the last hours before Iftar. Al Tereky warned patients against doing physical exercises during fasting hours and suggested delaying exercises until night time in order to avoid hypoglycemia (lowering of blood glucose levels).

Over 700 e-services to be launched by year-end

May 20, 2015 |

At the Qatar Digital Government Forum held recently, an official has revealed that about 711 e-Services would be launched by end of 2015, while 1000 new services would be implemented by 2016-end.

According to a report in The Peninsula, the e-Services are part of the Qatar Digital Government 2020 Strategy that was launched last year. The strategy aims to “realise transparency and increase administrative efficiency”, while providing e-Services across the public and private sectors. Currently, about 265 e-Services are being offered to residents and organisations by various government entities. These include: Customs Clearance Single Window (Al Nadeeb), Metrash 2, and mobile services provided by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.

CMC: Call to build more affordable high-rise apartments in Qatar

May 20, 2015 |

With a growing demand for affordable housing units, CMC members have urged the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) to revoke the ban on high-rise apartments in the country.

According to a report in Gulf Times, most residential areas are not permitted to have high-rises due to the lack of infrastructural facilities. However, CMC members feel that since the prices of land have peaked over the years, it would be profitable to utilise the land to build a high-rise building rather than a two-storey residential villa.

Moreover, high-rise residential apartment buildings would also help eliminate the practice of illegally partitioned villas, which are preferred by middle-income expats due to their lower rents.

CMC members have called for strict measures to ban expatriate families from partitioning their independent residential units in an effort to reduce the pressure on public utilities such as water, electricity and parking spaces. Also, most partitions are made from gypsum or wood that are quite susceptible to fires.

[Photo courtesy: Jan Smith via Flickr]

Ashghal: Lagoona 2 Roundabout to change to signal-controlled intersection

May 19, 2015 |

The Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has announced that the Lagoona 2 Roundabout will be converted into a signal-controlled intersection to improve traffic safety on the Lusail Road.

The new intersection also includes traffic sensors to detect the vehicle patterns that vary throughout the day and help determine the timing of lights. This will facilitate the implementation of works on the Lusail Expressway Project in such a way that minimizes the effect on traffic.

Meanwhile, the Lagoona 3 Roundabout leading to the Zig Zag towers has been closed in order to build another roundabout to control the incoming traffic heading toward the Zig Zag Towers and Lagoona Mall. Vehicles coming from the direction of the mall and the Zig Zag towers and wanting to access the Pearl-Qatar will need to drive to Lagoona 1 Roundabout, also known as Diplomatic Roundabout, make a U-turn and head back in the direction of the Pearl.

The Lusail Expressway project is part of Qatar’s Expressway Programme which involves reconstruction and upgrading of the existing Lusail Street from south of Al Wahda Street (Arch Roundabout) to the North Canal Crossing and connecting the Lusail area with West Bay.

Qatar Science & Technology Park boosts ties with Korean technology and innovation hubs

May 19, 2015 |

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), today signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with key national technology development and promotion organisations in South Korea: the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology … Read More

British Embassy offers travel advice for nationals through ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign

May 19, 2015 |

With the summer holidays on its way, the British Embassy has launched the ‘Know Before You Go’ Campaign (‘KBYG’) to help British nationals in Qatar be better prepared for their travel.

According to a press statement, the main aim of the campaign is to help reduce preventable consular cases. From hospitalisations to arrests and lost passports, the issues are varied, but the common thread is often a lack of preparation. the full details of the campaign can be viewed here.

British Vice Consul, Ann Munro, said: “The summer holiday period is almost here. Most holidays leave nothing but happy memories, but sadly this isn’t always the case. A minor accident, lost camera, unexpected illness or worse, can unpleasantly affect your travel experiences, but a few simple steps can help you get the most out of your trip. With this in mind, the Consular Department have produced a ‘Know Before You Go’ postcard guide that features essential travel tips which should ensure that you are suitably prepared to enjoy your well earned holiday.”

[Photo Courtesy: British Embassy, Qatar Facebook Page]

 

HMC: 70% of Qatari patients seeking treatment for obesity are women

May 19, 2015 |

More than 2000 patients have undergone weight loss surgery at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) since 2011, it was revealed at the inaugural Qatar International Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Summit (QIMBSS) held in Doha recently.

Dr. Moataz Bashah, HMC’s Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and Director of the Summit highlighted that more than 30% of the Qatari population are obese largely due to unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. This has led to an increased number of people turning to bariatric surgery as a solution.

Commenting on the demographics associated with bariatric surgery in Qatar, Dr Bashah noted that about 70% of Qatari patients seeking treatment for obesity at HMC are women. Diabetic patients also often seek bariatric surgery to help with obesity with 60-70% of diabetic patients treated at HMC.

Bariatric surgery is a treatment used to help patients with extreme obesity to lose weight. It involves operating on the stomach and/or intestines and is an option for people who are unable to lose weight by other means, such as diet and exercise, or have serious obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Patients who have undergone bariatic surgery at an early stage of their diabetes can generally expect better outcomes, but the long-term success of the treatment largely depends on the patient’s commitment to the prescribed post-operative diet and exercise regimen.

Revision surgery, particularly if done more than once, can result in complications.

“Unfortunately, there are some patients who fail to comply with this regimen and end up regaining weight and coming back for revision surgery after two to three years,” said Dr. Bashah. He commented that revision surgery, particularly if done more than once, can result in complications. He also warned against undergoing bariatric surgery abroad, highlighting that there have been a significant number of complications sustained by patients following overseas procedures due to poor clinical follow-up after their surgeries.

Speaking about bariatric surgery techniques used to help treat obesity at HMC,  Dr. Bashah stated that HMC is the first healthcare provider in the Middle East to use the minimally invasive Apollo Endosurgery technique which uses bodily orifices such as the mouth to operate on targeted areas.

HMC’s Pediatrics’ Department initiates support group for children with diabetes

May 18, 2015 | 1

Hamad General Hospital’s (HGH) Pediatrics Department has created a support group that aims to improve quality of life for children living with diabetes who receive insulin pump therapy.

Dr. Fawziya Al Khalaf, Head of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at HMC’s Pediatrics Department said: “We initiated the support group in January 2015 as part of efforts to motivate patients with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes towards better control and compliance with their treatment regimen. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of childhood diabetes, comprising around 1,000 patients being provided care at HGH’s Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Unit,” Dr. Al Khalaf explained.

The support group provides counselling to patients with poorly controlled diabetes who experience difficulties in adhering to their care plan and who may have social problems at home and in the community.

This is done through one-on-one and group sessions. One-on-one sessions are held at least once a week to cultivate a friendlier and warm environment between patients and their families in each similar age group. Group sessions are held once every two months.

Dr. Al Khalaf noted that the core support team includes motivated patients who are successfully managing their diabetes, as well as their family members, and that they have been selected because of their skills in teaching and sharing information.

The support group will have an educational session at the end of this month in Hamad bin Khalifa Medical City’s Bayt Al Dhiyafah (formerly known as the Club Hotel).

 [Photo courtesy: Melissa Wiese via Flickr]

Report: Qatar’s food consumption to grow at 5.5% in the next five years; highest in the GCC

May 18, 2015 |

Fuelled by a rising population, Qatar’s food consumption is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 5.5% during 2014-2019 – the highest in the GCC, according to Alpen Capital’s GCC Food Industry report. The average food consumption in the GCC is expected to grow at 3.5% in the same duration.

The country’s high consumption rate has been attributed to several factors including its rapidly rising population, along with an increasing demand for processed and Western foods. High obesity rates are also leading to an increased consumption of food in the fruits (5.9%) and meat (5.6%) categories.

In 2014, Qatar’s food retail sales were estimated to be at US$ 11.0 billion, representing a 13.1% y-o-y increase and constituting 46.4% of its total retail sales. Despite the high food consumption rates, Qatar’s food production is fairly low. Given the lack of cultivable lands and harsh climate conditions, the economy is heavily dependent on food imports. Qatar’s food self sufficiency was reported to be at 9.6% in 2012, the lowest compared to other GCC nations.

The full report can be read here.

[Photo courtesy: Michael Stern via Flickr]

SEC to introduce tracking system for Karwa school buses in Qatar

May 18, 2015 |

While stepping up its safety measures, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) said it will soon connect all Karwa school buses to satellites through GPS.

With this move, parents would be able to track the buses that their children using their mobile phones as well as communicate with the bus drivers directly, the Gulf Times has reported.

Though schools in Qatar are taking up measures to maximise safety of students in the bus, not many live up to the mark. In an earlier JustHere article, several parents expressed their concerns over safety in school buses. Some of the issues raised were lack of seatbelts, absence of bus attendants to monitor kids and poor air-conditioning.

How would you rate your child’s school bus service?

Vodafone celebrates World Telecom Day with launch of Smart first 6

May 17, 2015 |

To celebrate World Telecom Day which falls annually on the 17th of May, Vodafone launched the Vodafone Smart first 6, the most affordable Android 4” smartphone.

Vodafone Smart first 6 is a pocket-perfect handset with a full Android experience that will further lower the cost for customers to enjoy the benefits of using Vodafone’s fast and reliable data network, particularly when combined with Vodafone’s low-cost data plans.  Launching at a special price of QR229 only, Vodafone Smart first 6 will be available at all Vodafone retail stores and eShop via: www.vodafone.qa/go/smartfirst6

Features
  • Simple to navigate Android 4.4 Kitkat operating system with access to thousands of mobile applications through the Play store.
  • 4.0 inch touchscreen
  • 1400 milliampere hour in-built battery means up to 7 hours of talk time or up to 15 days on standby before a recharge is needed.
  • Dropbox, the world’s leading file sync and share service, is preloaded onto the Smart first 6 and adds extra storage to the build in 4 Gigabytes’ (GB) memory (1.9 GB available for customer data storage).

Additionally, Vodafone launched a social media competition to mark this annual occasion through which the company will give away five Vodafone Smart first 6’s on Facebook. Users will need to share the post for the chance to win with Vodafone announcing one winner each day on its Facebook page.

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