Dr. Hilal and Mrs. Margaret Al Sayer - Kuwait
Special Distinction - 2015
Hilal Al-Sayer and his wife Margaret are the founders of the Kuwait Association for the Care of Children in Hospital (KACCH) and Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice (BACH). Since 1989, KACCH aims to provide psychosocial care to hospitalized children and to support them and their families to cope with their hospital experience. To fulfil this mission KACCH established the one-year post-graduate course, “Child Life”, at Kuwait University and employed qualified Child Life Specialists in Kuwait’s major government hospitals. Through the course of its work KACCH became aware of the lack of health services for children diagnosed with cancer and terminal conditions. When the mother of four-year-old terminally ill Abdullah approached Dr. and Mrs. Al-Sayer, asking for help so she could look after her little boy at home, Dr. Al-Sayer put together a team of specialists that provided Abdullah with medical care at home. With support from the team, Abdullah was taken care of at home and with his symptoms controlled, he was able to live a life as normal as possible in the face of his approaching death. Six months later, he passed away peacefully, in his mother’s arms and surrounded by his family. Abdullah was the inspiration for Dr. and Mrs. Al-Sayer to establish a children’s hospice in Kuwait so that this specialized care, known as pediatric palliative care, could be made available to all children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, free of charge and irrespective of their religion, nationality or gender. In 2012, Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice was formally opened in Kuwait. Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer is the President of KACCH and Chairperson and Medical Director of BACH. He is a former Minister of Health, Dean of the Medical School in Kuwait, President of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, and Chairperson of Dasman Diabetic Institute. Margaret Al-Sayer is the Founding Director of KACCH and BACCH. She is a former biology teacher and has devoted twenty-five years to raising awareness in Kuwait and the Middle East on the necessity of developing palliative care services for children. Dr. Hilal and Margaret met during High School in Manchester, England. They have been happily married for over forty years and have four children and six grandchildren.