Swift, effective measures to mitigate NCDs needed — minister

Health Minister Feras Al-Hawari
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Swift, effective measures need to be taken to prevent and combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs), by developing a strategy and action plans with participation of stakeholders, Minister of Health Firas Hawari said.اضافة اعلان

A recent study showed a high prevalence of NCDs, lifestyle-related diseases, in Jordanian society, primarily cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and mental disorders, as well as their associated risk factors such as smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

The Jordan National Stepwise Survey (STEPs), which monitored NCDs and their associated risk factors, was carried out by the Ministry of Health last year in cooperation with the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, and with technical support from the WHO, and funding from the USAID.

The minister stressed the importance of strengthening monitoring and control systems at all levels of the health service, improving NCD programs at the primary health care level, and implementing preventive measures that promote a healthy lifestyle.

He said this would have a positive impact on reducing morbidity and mortality rates in the Kingdom, and paves the way for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Hawari made the remarks during a dialogue session organized by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WHO, to discuss the situation in Jordan regarding NCDs, in light of the results of the national survey.

The session included discussions between relevant partners to identify national priority strategic interventions for reducing NCDs.

This is in line with the four main areas stipulated in the regional framework for action to implement the UN political declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs, which Jordan is committed to achieving.

These four areas are: governance; prevention and reduction of risk factors; health care and surveillance; monitoring and evaluation.

In her opening speech at the dialogue session, acting WHO representative to Jordan, Jamela Al Raiby, pointed to the increasing rates of morbidity and mortality due to NCDs and their associated risk factors globally and in Jordan alike.

She highlighted the possibility of preventing NCDs and mitigating their impact on public health through active involvement of all sectors and through an integrated governmental and societal approach. 

“It is very important to translate the results and recommendations of the latest national STEPwise survey into actionable interventions in line with updated scientific evidence and approved health standards,” Raiby said, highlighting the importance of identifying the needs necessary to effectively implement these measures in coordination with all relevant partners.

The director of the USAID Public Health Office, John Mckay, said: “USAID is proud to support the Ministry of Health to promote healthy lifestyles and public health in Jordan.

We value our longstanding partnership with the government of Jordan by collecting and analyzing key data needed for decision-making in the health sector.”

McKay said that NCDs are risk factors for COVID-19, which highlights the need for a preventive approach that cannot be addressed unless accurate data of the risk factors are available.

“This validates the importance of this survey and data in implementing smart policy measures to reduce disease incidence and deaths in Jordan,” he said.

Zaid Eyadat, vice president of international affairs, quality and accreditation at the University of Jordan and director of the Center for Strategic Studies, pointed out in his speech the importance of joint cooperation between research centers, government institutions and international organizations in the field of health research.

He added that this is to guarantee the highest levels of professionalism in the practical and research application of studies whose outputs form the basis for NCD plans and decisions at the national level. 

In the area of public policy, the center established the Public Policy Forum which tackles several issues, the most important of which is the Health Policy Forum.

Eyadat said the center looks forward to further partnerships with various governmental and international parties to work on studies that are beneficial for citizens and the country.

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