Alvin Thomas sits down with Dr. Matlooba al Zadjali, whose new clinic dedicated to the treatment of heart and vascular diseases in Oman is set to change the way patients in need access critical care.
You can’t beat a healthy heart.’ Chances are, you’ve either heard it – or said it. Does it, then, come as a surprise to learn that an ever-growing segment of residents in the Sultanate rarely takes stock of their heart health as part of their overall well-being? This mentality is reflected by mortality – with a quarter of all hospital deaths in the nation caused by heart disease and circulatory problems according to the Ministry of Health.
One Omani health-care professional is seeking to reverse that alarming statistic by committing herself to educate and help others combat heart and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Matlooba al Zadjali, a cardiologist, public health practitioner, and board member and head of the Oman Heart Association, has donned the role of entrepreneur to open the country’s inaugural state-of-the-art International Specialised Centre for Heart & Vascular Disease with the support of Riyada – Public Authority for SME Development.
“After coming back to Oman after my education, I’d always been involved with my work,” Dr. Matlooba explains. “Of course, I didn’t just jump into my decision to open a specialized heart centre, but instead worked hard to help people through other organizations and institutions.
“But I knew that 2018 would be the year that I would begin to serve the people and aid the country’s efforts to improve heart health. Nothing gives me more happiness than a person who has been saved from any form of heart condition.”
The heart centre offers patients consultations for various heart diseases, vascular surgical consultations, specialized nursing care, diagnostics, lab investigations, and outpatient care. The facility also fills the gap left for patients facing hospital wait times of several weeks or a month before receiving an appointment with a doctor.
“Our facility will do everything to accommodate the needs of patients,” Dr. Matlooba states. “As of today, we have the capability to handle up to 10 patients per day. I will be personally available to discuss and diagnose the heart conditions of the patients, but we’re also working to have visiting doctors from other countries.”
The centre is also en-route to attaining affiliation with Hungary, before further extending to other European countries as well. “We’ll be signing the memorandum by July – and we can then send patients, if they desire, to these countries for advanced health treatments,” she explains.
When asked about the availability of specialized heart health services in Oman, Dr. Matlooba tells expresses: “In the government level, the facilities are great. But the waiting time can be quite long – and honestly, that’s also another reason that pushed me to open this facility.”
The International Specialised Centre for Heart & Vascular Disease opened doors to the public last month, but the grand opening of the centre is expected to be in August.
Dr. Matlooba al Zadjali graduated from the Arabian Gulf Medical University in Bahrain in 2002, after which she attained her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a clinical PhD in Heart Failure from the University of Dundee and Ninewells Hospital in 2008. She joined the Internal Medicine Training Program under the Oman Medical Specialty Board (OMSB) and spent the final year of her training as a fellow in Heart Failure at the prestigious Imperial College and St. Mary’s Hospital in London.
She was then posted as a specialist cardiologist at the Royal Hospital and the National Heart Center, as well as in the non-communicable diseases (NCD) department of the Ministry of Health.
Location: November 18th Street, Azaiba