The Minister of Health, Firas Hawari, and the Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in Jordan, Santiago Medina, on Monday signed a letter of intent aimed at strengthening the public health system, namely primary health care services for the management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Kingdom.
Under the letter, the European Union (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 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 non-communicable diseases (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 decentralization of basic services. The ministry will also utilize the technical assistance and expertise of the Spanish national health system in this regard. Meanwhile, other grants from private and non-governmental organizations will be channeled into awareness and community participation.
Hawari said that this "timely" financial and technical support, provided by the European Union and Spain, targets a very important area of public health in the Kingdom. "The importance of our project stems from its role in contributing to improve the health of Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens, through improving prevention and access to primary health care for non-communicable diseases," he noted.
The minister said that the support highlights the deep-rooted friendship and partnership between the Kingdom and the European Union countries, including Spain, and reflects the true Spanish and European values of responsibility.
He stressed the importance of combating non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death in the world, adding that prevention and treatment has become a top priority for the ministry and the Jordanian health system.
He pointed to the need for broad alliances to alter behaviors 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, which has disrupted the provision of basic health services, affecting Jordanians and Syrian refugees alike.
The EU's response to these urgent needs, she added, combines improving access to and quality of primary health care services, in addition to strengthening the resilience of the national health system.
Spanish Ambassador to the Kingdom, Aranzazu Banon Davalos, said that her country is committed to supporting Jordan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, within the framework of the 2021-2024 Jordan-Spanish partnership, underlining that reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment is a strategic area of cooperation.
"Spain, as part of the European Union, 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 percent of the Kingdom's total deaths.
Source: Jordan News Agency