KHCC and Global Bridges Deliver Training Workshop


King Hussein Cancer Center, the regional host for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, was recently commissioned by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to deliver a training workshop on tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) to healthcare workers in the UAE.

As an integral component of the Tobacco-free Dubai Project, the two-day workshop was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Sixty participants represented DHA, Ministry of Health, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police, and Health Authority – Abu Dhabi, with key participation from Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.

Led by Dr. Feras Hawari, the regional director for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, the workshop invited Dr. Michael Burke from the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center as a guest trainer. From the UAE, the workshop engaged Dr. Hanan Obaid, the leader of the Tobacco Free Dubai Project and head of Community Health Services at DHA, and Dr. Wedad Maidour, the director of Primary Healthcare at the Emirati Ministry of Health.

The workshop introduced the harmful effects of tobacco use and its association with non-communicable diseases including cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It then trained participants on evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) utilizing counseling and pharmacotherapies to develop an individualized plan per patient and presented real-life scenarios from the practice of the trainers.

“The training program is part of the Tobacco-Free Dubai initiative, which was launched in 2009, and includes many activities and targeted awareness campaigns which will take place across schools, universities, and public and private sector entities,” said Dr. Obaid.

“Training on offering and running tobacco dependence treatment is a strategic decision especially in light of reports issued by global health organizations forecasting sharp increases in the incidence of NCDs including CVD, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, with tobacco use being a common risk factor among those diseases,” said Hawari, the regional director for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean region and director of Cancer Control at King Hussein Cancer Center.

“Estimates indicate that the economic burden of these diseases in low and middle income countries will add up to $14 trillion (U.S.) over the coming 20 years; a burden that these countries cannot shoulder,” added Hawari. “Given its cost effectiveness, TDT is one of the strategies highly recommended by WHO to address the issue of tobacco use and associated disease.”

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