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Doha

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Qatar / Doha
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OVERVIEW

In Qatar, birth control pills and condoms are available without a prescription. There is no emergency contraception (the morning after pill) available in Qatar, but you can use regular oral contraceptives (birth control pills) as replacement emergency contraception. Check out the "Emergency Contraception" section for details. STD/STI tests are common, and they are required if you wish to be a long-term resident, if you're pregnant, and in other cases. If you're a foreigner and found to be HIV positive, you may be deported. It is illegal to be an unmarried pregnant woman in Qatar. If you are pregnant and married, you will want to consider whether you will receive treatment and deliver the child in a public or private hospital, as different restrictions apply to the public ones. Abortion is generally illegal, except for in very rare cases, so it is best to seek an abortion outside of Qatar.

Contraception (Birth Control)[edit]

General Note: There are many types of contraceptives, also known as "birth control," including IUDs, oral contraceptives, patches, shots, and condoms, etc. If you would like to view a full list, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Qatar, you can purchase birth control pills and condoms over-the-counter (no prescription is required) at pharmacies. You don't need a marriage certificate and there are no age restrictions. Condoms are also available at stores. It is estimated that about 36.7% of Qatari women use some form of modern contraception and 19.2% have unmet family planning needs. According to a 2015 study, the most popular forms of contraception are birth control pills (used by 15.8% of Qatari women of reproductive age), IUDs (12.7%) and injectable (5.1%). There is relatively low usage of condoms as the primary contraceptive method (5.1%),[1] which may be partially due to the government's strong emphasis on sex after marriage.

While the average woman in Qatar gets married at 25 years old,[2] many women get married as teenagers or young adults. For this reason, pharmacists can't assume that young people who are buying birth control are unmarried. There have been some cases of pharmacists who refused to sell birth control to very young-looking people, but from a legal perspective, there are actually no age restrictions.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can purchase birth control pills at pharmacies without a prescription. There are over 20 birth control pill brands registered in Qatar, all of which come from major pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, Pfizer, Merck, Wyeth, etc. Some brands you can expect to see are Cilest, Diane, Diane-35, Exluton, Femulen, Gynera, Logynon, Marvelon, Microgynon, Microgynon-30, Minulet, Nordette, Ovulen 50, Ovysmen 0.5/35, Synphase, Trinordiol, Trinordiol 21, Trinovum, Yasmin and Yaz.[3]
  • You can purchase condoms in supermarkets and pharmacies for reasonable prices (avg <0.5 $/condom in 2013) without any legal restrictions or regulations limiting their distribution. While some stores only carry Durex condoms, other pharmacies have a wider selection (especially on Al Merqab St), selling brands like Masculan, Sico, Coral and Moods. condoms are available in all supermarkets
  • If you want a contraceptive shot/injectable, you should be able to find Depo-Provera SAS 150mg/ml (produced by Pfizer) in Qatar.[4]
  • Local tip from Ola Diab: "There are at least three pharmacies in Al Merqab St. that sell contraceptives without restrictions and condoms are even sold in supermarkets on the street like Family Food Center. This is not only common in Al Merqab St. pharmacies in Al Merqab St. but also in pharmacies and supermarkets in other areas in Qatar."[5]

Costs[edit]

The price of birth control pills is set by the Ministry of Health’s Drug Control Department. In 2010, prices ranged from QR 20 to QR 40 for a one-month supply.

Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)[edit]

Important Notes: Emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy for three days (72 hours) and sometimes five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you don't have access to dedicated EC, oral contraceptives can be used as replacement EC, but remember the following: 1) Only some contraceptives work as EC 2) Different contraceptives require different dosages and time schedules to work as EC 3) You must only use the first 21 pills in 28-day packs and 4) They may be less effective than dedicated EC. For general information on emergency contraceptives, click here and here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Qatar, there are no dedicated emergency contraceptives (morning after pills). However, you can use regular birth control pills as replacement emergency contraception. To do that, please check out the section below ("What to Get & Where to Get It").

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

If you need emergency contraception (the morning after pill), you can take the following birth control pills, according to the instructions. Remember that, in 28-day packs, only the first 21 pills can be used.

For the following pills, take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later:[6]

  • Eugynon
  • Neogynon
  • Nordiol
  • Ovral

For the following pills, take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later:[7]

  • Microgynon-30
  • Nordette

Costs[edit]

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs/STDs)[edit]

Important Notes - Learn about PEP and PrEP: If you think that you've been recently exposed to HIV (i.e. within 72 hours), seek out PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a month-long treatment to prevent HIV infection after exposure, and it may be available in your city. Take PEP as soon as possible. For more information, click here. If you are at risk of HIV exposure, seek out PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). It's a daily oral pill that can prevent HIV infection before exposure. To learn more about PrEP, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

If you are traveling to Qatar for a short time (i.e. less than one month), you don't need to take an HIV test. However, if you plan to stay in Qatar over one month (for example, if you have a residency or work permit), you need to take an HIV test along with a medical examination. This rule also applies to family members/dependents who come with someone who has received a work permit. If you come to Qatar with a residence or work permit, you will expected to get a medical certificate on arrival in the country. Often times, you'll need to get tested as early as three days after arrival. Foreign medical certificates will not be accepted. If you are found to be HIV positive, you will be denied the residency/work visa and you will be deported.

If you are a pregnant woman, planning to marry or a foreign student coming from abroad, you will also be tested for HIV.[8]

If you contract HIV during your time in Qatar, you will not be deported. According to some sources, you will be able to access HIV treatment, just like Qatari nationals. Other sources say you cannot receive treatment if you're a foreign national. According to HIVTravel, "The Medical Commission's latest report revealing rise on HIV/AIDS cases among the newly-recruited workforce has alarmed a wide section of the society because it is believed this might contribute to spreading the disease in the country."[9]

According to a UNAIDS report (2013), "PLHIV treatment care is completely supported by the government that provides them with free treatment, consultation and education. All services are centered in HMC-Hamad Medical Hospital where they are offered free of charge and under total confidentiality privileges for Qataris and non-Qataris. Therapy is available at all times and in case of any shortage certain medications are ordered to reach the country overnight if necessary."[10]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Testing Facilities[edit]

  • You can probably get tested at any lab for HIV.
  • "Apollo Clinic C-ring has cheaper prices if you are paying and you can ask straight in the lab. Some other labs have discount deals if you are employee of specific companies."

Support[edit]

  • Hamad General Hospital: This is the largest hospital in Qatar. They have a clinic with specialized doctors and other health professionals who are trained to treat HIV/AIDS. Treatment at this hospital is free of charge and provided to all patients on equal terms. Telephone: (+974) 4439 4444 from 7am to 3pm, Sunday to Thursday (general enquiries). HMC Customer Service Center – Nesma’ak – 16060 (Sunday to Thursday 7am to 10pm, Friday 2pm to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm). Via email: nesmaak@hamad.qa
  • UNAIDS Qatar: This page provides HIV news that is related to Qatar.

Costs[edit]

Medications & Vaccines[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • There are no known providers of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) in Qatar.
  • There is no national HPV vaccination program in Qatar.[11]

Costs[edit]

Menstruation[edit]

Note: In addition to pads and tampons, you can also use menstrual cups and menstrual underwear for your period. To learn more about menstrual cups, click here. To learn more about menstrual underwear, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • You can easily find pads and pantyliners in Doha.
  • If you want to buy tampons, you can find them at Boots (sells OB), Megamart and Carrefour.
  • If you want to purchase a menstrual cup, you have a few options. Some local stores may sell menstrual cups (for example, a Doha local reported seeing menstrual cups sold at Spinneys in the past), but this isn't confirmed. A more reliable option is to buy online through retailers like Ubuy, a South African retailer that provides products to Qatar. They sell many brands of menstrual cups, like DivaCup, Blossom Menstrual Cup, LENA Feminine Hygiene Cup, etc. You can also visit Dubai, where DivaCup is sold in select stores.

Costs[edit]

Gynecological Exams[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

Check out this article about picking a gynecologist in Doha.

Some women have reported that gynecologists have asked for their marriage certificate before performing a routine pap. We'll need to confirm if this is standard practice/very common. One woman commented: "From what I heard if you're a single white non Muslim women going to a private clinic they would probably do it [give you a pap]. But if you're a single Arab Muslim women then it's pretty hard to get. I had to have my father come sign a paper when I was 21 just to get certain tests."

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

  • Dr. Maha Mahmoud at Doha Clinic: This ob/gyn was trained in Egypt, and she speaks both Arabic and English. She comes highly recommended by multiple Doha locals.
  • Premium Naseem Al Rabeeh Medical Centre: Recommended ob/gyns: Dr. Naima Ouahrani or Dr. Preethi Balan (both female). "Premium Naseem Al Rabeeh Medical Centre , Doha, Qatar is a branch of Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Group; one of the pioneers in the field of corporate and quality health care in the Middle East for the last 30 years and has ventured in to the field of total health care at par with international standards providing service to all communities."
  • Al Shefa Polyclinic in Kharitiyat: Recommended gynecologist (originally from Poland) - Dr. Katarzyna Buzdygan (no marriage certificate required)
  • Dr. Sonia Abu Saba at Al Emadi Hospital: She comes highly recommended by many Doha locals. She was trained in Belgium. She speaks Arabic, French and English.
  • Dr. Adnan Issam Abdulkader: Recommended by Doha locals. He has his own clinic behind Landmark Mall.

Costs[edit]

Pregnancy[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

It is illegal to be unmarried and pregnant in Qatar. If you're found to be unmarried and pregnant, you may face jail time or, if you're a foreigner, deportation. Some women may even face lashings. You also need a marriage certificate to access the maternity ward. For these reasons, if you're pregnant and unmarried, it's highly recommended that you leave Qatar for at least the duration of your pregnancy. You should be aware that you may also face problems if you come to Qatar after your pregnancy, so you should confirm your legal status with your child if you are later considering return.[12]

If you're a pregnant, you should also consider if you want to use a private or government hospital. According to AngloInfo: "All Doha's main private and government hospitals have maternity wards. Maternity care at government hospitals is largely free, but they can be busier and therefore less convenient than private options. It is also not permitted for husbands to come to appointments or be present at the delivery in government maternity wards, whereas most private facilities allow husbands to be present. The main government maternity hospital is the Hamad Women's Hospital in Doha, which houses Qatar's main ward for premature babies."[13]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Public Hospitals[edit]

  • Hamad Women's Hospital: This is the main government hospital for women's health and maternity. "HMC is the principal public healthcare provider in the State of Qatar, delivering the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every one of our patients." ​You can contact us: By phone: (+974) 4439 6666. HMC Customer Service Center – Nesma’ak – 16060 (Sunday to Thursday 7am to 10pm, Friday 2pm to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm). By email: nesmaak@hamad.qa. Address: Women's Hospital, P.O. Box 3050, Doha - Qatar​.
  • Cuban Hospital: Recommended ob/gyn: Dr. Daritza. You can read a personal testimonial here."​Located in Dukhan, The Cuban Hospital was officially opened on 10 January 2012. As a joint project between the government of the State of Qatar and the government of the Republic of Cuba, the hospital is staffed by more than 400 Cuban medical professionals; including doctors, nurses and technicians in the fields of rehabilitation, dentistry, pathology, biomedicine and radiology. This workforce is supported by local staff and contractors."

Private Hospitals[edit]

  • FetoMaternal Center: This center is recommended by many women in Doha. "The Fetomaternal Centre provides care for pregnant women and children by doctors who have the highest international training in pediatrics , ultrasound scanning ,women’s health and fetal medicine." Recommended ob/gyn is Dr Naseem Rashid. She is "A British Royal College Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and American Public Health Certified Maternal & Child Health Specialist. Educated in the United States, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. More than 20 years of experience at a consultant level, having held clinical, academic, and administrative positions and responsibilities."
  • Premium Naseem Al Rabeeh Medical Centre: Recommended ob/gyns: Dr. Naima Ouahrani or Dr. Preethi Balan (both female). "Premium Naseem Al Rabeeh Medical Centre , Doha, Qatar is a branch of Shifa Al Jazeera Medical Group; one of the pioneers in the field of corporate and quality health care in the Middle East for the last 30 years and has ventured in to the field of total health care at par with international standards providing service to all communities."
  • Future Medical Center: Recommended ob/gyn: Dr. Olena. "Future Medical Center is a multi – specialty clinic launched in Doha in 2008. This most modern clinic is one of the largest Polyclinics in Qatar. "
  • Dr. Maha Mahmoud at Doha Clinic: This ob/gyn was trained in Egypt, and she speaks both Arabic and English. She comes highly recommended by multiple Doha locals.
  • Doha Clinic - In-Vitro Fertilization: "Giving new hope to infertile couples, our Specialities includes In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) facility staffed with highly trained, qualified and dedicated personnel taking care of the patient’s requirements analyzing their needs and providing the best treatment in a safe environment, utilizing the sophisticated lab equipment."

Costs[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Important Note: There are two main types of abortions: medical (also known as the "abortion pill") and surgical (also known as "in-clinic"). For medical abortions, you take a pill to induce abortion. For surgical abortions, a procedure is performed to induce abortion. For general information about medical and surgical abortions, click here.

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

In Qatar, abortion is generally illegal. It is only permitted when the woman's life is endangered by the pregnancy, according to Qatar's penal code. According to a 1983 law, abortions may only be performed on pregnancies of less than four months duration (and only in cases when the pregnancy endangers the woman's health or there is risk of serious and untreatable fetal defects). Both parents must consent to the abortion. Furthermore, the abortion must be recommended by a medical commission, which must include three specialists. The abortion must be performed in a government hospital.[14]

If a woman is found to be illegally inducing an abortion, or if she consents to an abortion, she may face up to five years in prison. For individuals who perform abortions, they may face up to five years in prison (if the pregnant woman consented to the abortion) or 10 years in prison (if the pregnant woman did not consent to the abortion). For more details on Qatar's abortion laws, click here.

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

If you are pregnant and wish to obtain an abortion, your best option is to seek an abortion outside Qatar. While there is an underground illegal abortion industry in Qatar, it's not safe and not recommended. Rather, you may consider traveling to countries like Turkey, Greece or India, where you can legally obtain an abortion. For example, check out this explanation from Bangalore Genesis Hospital in India, which provides abortions to Qatari women. You can also visit this website, which says "We are located in Bangalore, India where medical termination of pregnancy/abortion is legal. The procedure is conducted by highly experienced gynecologists, doctors and nursing staff."

Costs[edit]

If you are pregnant and considering getting an abortion outside Qatar, you will need to consider the following costs: transportation to the country where you will be obtaining an abortion, hotel or accommodation costs in that country, cost of the abortion in the country and the total amount of days you may need to be in the country both before and after the abortion.

Advocacy & Counseling[edit]

Laws & Social Stigmas[edit]

What to Get & Where to Get It[edit]

Costs[edit]

List of Additional Resources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015
  2. Age at First Marriage - Female By Country
  3. IPPF Qatar
  4. IPPF Qatar
  5. If You Think Accessing Contraceptives in Qatar is Hard? Think Again!
  6. Princeton EC Website
  7. Princeton EC Website
  8. SCH: Qatar residents diagnosed with HIV increases to 10-year high
  9. QATAR - REGULATIONS ON ENTRY, STAY AND RESIDENCE FOR PLHIV
  10. The current situation of HIV/AIDS in Qatar
  11. Qatar: Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers, Fact Sheet 2016
  12. Having a Baby in Qatar
  13. Having a Baby in Qatar
  14. Abortion in Qatar