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EU approves 22-million-euro grant to strengthen Jordan’s public health system

Jordan, Spanish agency join forces in support of management of non-communicable diseases

By JT - Sep 13,2021 - Last updated at Sep 13,2021

Minister of Health Feras Al Hawari and Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation in Jordan Santiago Medina sign a letter of intent aimed to strengthen the public health system in Jordan on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Minister of Health Feras Al Hawari and Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in Jordan Santiago Medina on Monday signed a letter of intent aimed to strengthen the public health system, namely primary healthcare services to support the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Kingdom.

According to the letter, the EU approved a grant of 22 million euros disbursed by its Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (Madad Fund), to be managed by the AECID and the Ministry of Health over a period of three years, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.  

The amount also covers investments in equipment and infrastructure at the ministry's clinics in Ajloun, Mafraq and Tafileh.

Additionally, the letter of intent covers prevention, community participation and improving medical procedures at the national level to curb NCDs and their risk factors, which include tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution.

The AECID also granted an additional half a million euros, primarily managed by the ministry, to support the decentralisation of basic services. The ministry will also utilise the technical assistance and expertise of the Spanish national health system in this regard. 

Meanwhile, other grants from private and non-governmental organisations will be channelled into awareness and community participation.

Hawari said that this "timely" financial and technical support, provided by the EU and Spain, targets a very important area of public health in the Kingdom. 

The project stems from its role to safeguard the health of Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens through improving prevention and access to primary healthcare for non-communicable diseases, he noted.

The minister said that the support highlights the deep-rooted partnership between the Kingdom and the EU countries, including Spain.

He stressed the importance of combating non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death in the world. He added that prevention and treatment has become a top priority for the ministry and the Jordanian health system.

He pointed to the need to alter behaviours to reduce risk factors and enhance capacities at all levels of the public health system, especially at the primary care level to increase early detection and overall medical services.

EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou underscored that this intervention will address the challenges that the Jordanian health system has faced after the COVID-19 outbreak. The challenges have disrupted the provision of basic health services, affecting Jordanians and Syrian refugees alike, she added.

The EU's response to these urgent needs, she added, combines the access to and quality of primary healthcare services and works to strengthen the resilience of the national health system.

Spanish Ambassador to the Kingdom Aranzazu Banon Davalos said that her country is committed to helping Jordan achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, within the framework of the 2021-2024 Jordan-Spanish partnership. The partnership underlines the importance of reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, she added.

Spain, as part of the EU, and as a close and committed partner of Jordan, firmly believes that working with the Jordanian government is the best way forward to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and address the repercussions of the Syrian crisis by strengthening basic public services for everyone, she stated.

Last week, the ministry said that non-communicable diseases, namely cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Jordan, accounting for 78 per cent of the Kingdom's total deaths.


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