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Workshop aims to fast track palliative and home healthcare in Jordan

Author: Dr Omar Shamieh, Consultant, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Chairman, Department of Palliative Care, King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan
03 May 2017

On April 18, 2017, under the patronage of the Minister of Health, His Excellency Dr Mahmoud Sheyab, the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) and the National Palliative Care Committee (NPCC) of the Ministry of Health hosted a workshop for key stakeholders of a planned national palliative and home care strategic framework in Jordan.

The activity was a part of a wide-ranging initiative, implemented by the National Home Care Initiative Project launched in June 2016 and supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to increase awareness of palliative care, build healthcare professional capacity and develop a viable home healthcare industry in the Kingdom.

Speaking at the workshop Dr Omar Shamieh, Director of the National Home Care Initiative Project, Chair of the Hospice and Palliative Care Department at KHCC, and the National Palliative Care Committee (NPCC) of the Ministry of Health, said: “This unique workshop brought together key stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, Senate, Parliament, High Health Council, Medical and Nursing councils and associations, academic institutions including major medical and nursing schools, healthcare providers from the public and private sector, medical finance, insurance, NGOs, in addition to the World Health Organization and international experts, Professor Sheila Payne from Lancaster University and Dr Richard Harding from Kings College and Cicely Saunders Institute in UK”

Prof Payne said: "It was an honour and pleasure to be involved in supporting the development of the first national strategic plan for palliative and home care in Jordan. This initiative has strong government backing and is likely to improve care for all in Jordan."

Dr Harding said: "King Hussein Cancer Centre is making great progress in delivering multi-professional palliative care, and this workshop recognises the importance of ensuring continuity of care into the home. The strategic plan includes policy, education, funding and research- and the participants showed a strong commitment to generating robust, local evidence of effectiveness."

Many people in Jordan who need palliative care and pain management don’t receive it. Therefore the workshop aimed to draft the first Jordanian Palliative and Home Care Strategic framework to act as road map to develop palliative and home care in Jordan.

The emphasis was on improving access to services and opioids, strengthening healthcare policies, building capacity of healthcare professionals, improving financial coverage, service quality and monitoring.

Jordanian Health Minister Mahmoud Dr Sheyyab acknowledged Jordan's need to advance comprehensive palliative and home care services, and promised the ministry will do "everything possible to improve the work environment and further the spread of palliative and home care." 

The Workshop was attended by 60 multi-disciplinary experts who engaged in small groups discussions to revise the national strategic interventions, process and outcome indicators.
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