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WCM-Q students join MOPH volunteer program to fight COVID-19 threat

WCM-Q students have volunteered with the Ministry of Public Health to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic through Qatar Medical Students’ Association.
WCM-Q students have volunteered with the Ministry of Public Health to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic through Qatar Medical Students’ Association.

Medical students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) have answered a call from the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) for volunteers to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventeen WCM-Q students and two recent graduate signed up to help the MOPH in its work to contain the effects of the coronavirus in four key areas: Risk Communication; Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP); Investigation; and Contact Tracing.

The students, who were rallied to the cause by Qatar Medical Students’ Association (QMSA), are working as volunteers for two to four days per week, depending on the MOPH’s needs and their own personal and study commitments. The volunteering program was established in collaboration with the MOPH, which is providing specialist training to all volunteers to allow them to assist in the important work of tackling the virus.

WCM-Q student Dana Al-Ali.

The students who signed up to assist the MOPH are Abdallah Tom, Dana Al-Ali, Hissa AlHail, Shahryar Tariq Rana, Krishnadev Pillai, Nada Mobayed, Aldana Shahbik, Gabriala Andrews, Jassim Taimour, Nasser Al-Khawaga, Aya Youssef, Mahmood Al-Orphaly, Fatma Al-Binali, Toqa Afifi, Dhabia Al-Merekhi, Salma Al-Mohannadi and Kholoud Abu-Holayqah. Dr. Grigory Ostrovskiy, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine in Medicine at WCM-Q, coordinated the collaboration with the MOPH. Recent WCM-Q graduates Dr. Hamad Almuhannadi and Noora Alhail also volunteered.

Volunteers in the Risk Communication section are working on the national 16000 coronavirus hotline service, answering questions from callers, taking histories from them and referring them to testing facilities where needed. In the Guidelines and SOP section, volunteers help develop national guidelines and healthcare policy documents, while those in the Investigation section use the MOPH database of COVID-19 patients to take histories and discover who those patients have been in contact with. They then pass that information to the volunteers in the Contact Tracing team, who reach out to individuals who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients and help them access a testing facility. 

WCM-Q student volunteers are also working with qualified doctors who are members of Qatar Medical Association (QMA) to provide psychosocial support via phone to patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The student volunteers are trained by QMA’s doctors, who also monitor the calls for quality control.

WCM-Q fourth-year medical student Abdallah Tom, President of QMSA, said: “As medical students, we felt that we had an obligation to help Qatar fight the COVID-19 pandemic so we were very keen and grateful for the opportunity to volunteer with the Ministry of Public Health. We are all extremely committed to using the skills and knowledge we have learned in our studies so far to help efforts to protect the health of everyone in Qatar.”

Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development at WCM-Q, said: “We are very proud of our student volunteers for showing great enthusiasm for helping the MOPH with this vital work. As doctors in training, they already have a strong instinct to help safeguard the health of anyone in need and they are very thankful to the MOPH for giving them this chance to help.”