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Virgin Health Bank and Primary Health Care Empowering Families to Make Informed Choices

Doha, Qatar – November 2, 2010 - Qatar’s Primary Health Care (PHC) and Virgin Health Bank are collaborating to increase awareness of cord blood stem cell banking through educational programmes for families and the physicians and nurses providing antenatal care.

On Saturday 30th October at the Supreme Council of Health, Virgin Health Bank Executives conducted a seminar entitled “Empowering Families to Make Informed Choices about Cord Blood Stem Cell Banking” for more than 50 PHC physicians and nurses. Mr Andrew Glen Commercial Director and Mr. Chris Goodman Director of Operations gave presentations on Virgin Health Bank, cord blood banking, its therapeutic uses today and potential for the future and how to support families in making informed choices.

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Virgin Health Bank is also providing educational materials for use at the centres and bilingual advisors will be available to talk to families as well as supporting on-going training initiatives for the PHC teams.

CEO of Virgin Health Bank, Dr. Rajan Jethwa, said of the collaboration. “We are extremely proud to be working with the Primary Health Care team and view this as a vital part of our work with Qatar’s health care providers. We see it as the start of a long lasting relationship that will develop awareness and understanding of cord blood banking for Qatar’s families. Cord Blood stem cells, collected at birth by a safe and painless procedure have the potential to save and change lives and the ground-breaking work we are undertaking with the Primary Health Care team will help educate families about their options and support them in making informed choices.”

Dr. Khalid Al Badr, Director of Professional Leadership at PHC was quoted as saying “Providing education on health promotion and disease prevention is one of the key roles of Primary Health Care. We are committed to delivering practical, straightforward information in a socially acceptable manner to individuals and families. Our partnership with Virgin Health Bank is an innovative health education initiative and this is the first time such a programme has been implemented in the GCC. We are introducing a potentially life-saving technology to every family seeking antenatal care because we believe that access to knowledge about such important health innovations should be available to all” The agreement with Primary Health Care is one of the many collaborative partnerships Virgin Health Bank has established in Qatar. These include agreements with Hamad Medical Corporation and Qatar’s private hospitals. Under these agreements Virgin Health Bank provides on-going training and education programmes which include developing awareness, transferring knowledge and ensuring best practice cord blood collection techniques are employed.

“Providing information for families at an early stage in a pregnancy gives them sufficient time to carry out their own research and discuss, with our trained advisors or their own physicians, the options available to them. This empowers them to make a truly informed choice about banking their baby’s cord blood stem cells. Our unique operational model which combines educational programmes with transplant quality services will be the catalyst for making the life-saving and life-changing potential of stem cells available to communities in Qatar,” explains Andrew Glen.