King Hussein Cancer Center and Global Bridges train school-health professionals in Kuwait

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As the regional host for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean, King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) held a workshop last December for school-health professionals in collaboration with the School Health Department at the Ministry of Health in Kuwait. The workshop hosted Dr. Scott Leischow from Mayo Clinic as a guest trainer, as well as participants from Dubai Health Authority and their collaborators DM Health.

This workshop comes as the first step in a comprehensive program targeting prevention and treatment of tobacco use among youth. The need for the program stems from the belief of the School Health Department in the importance of tobacco control as an integral component to raising healthy generations and to preventing non-communicable diseases, especially in light of the rising prevalence of tobacco use among youth and young adults. Specifically, the program aims to enhance trainees’ understanding of tobacco control strategies; equip trainees to design and conduct awareness activities targeting youth, the school environment, and the extended school community; and equip trainees to provide tobacco dependence treatment (TDT) services to the school community with specific emphasis on youth.

Over four days, the workshop trained more than 110 physicians, nurses, and counselors providing services to Kuwait’s health-promoting schools. The sessions covered general topics such as tobacco and its products, initiation and addiction, methods for treating tobacco dependence, and providing counseling and pharmacology for TDT. The workshop also presented special sessions on social and environmental factors leading to tobacco use and addiction in youth and young adults, the health effects of tobacco use in this age group, strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults and the specific role of schools, in addition to discussing the e-cigarette and water-pipe as products of significance in the region.

Having trained staff and field workers, the School Health Department is set to strengthen its services in the field of tobacco control. Participants were highly satisfied with the training and expressed their interest and intention to introduce prevention and treatment in their day-to-day work, as well as through their interaction with people in their personal lives.

About the Author: Rasha Bader is Head of Planning and Project Management at the Cancer Control Office at KHCC and is the Operations Manager for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.