King Hussein Cancer Center launches first guideline for tobacco dependence treatment in Arabic language in EMR

As the regional host for Global Bridges in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) recently held a three-day workshop for healthcare workers from across the country on the topic of tobacco dependence treatment (TDT). The workshop aimed to advance tobacco control efforts in Jordan through building the capacity of healthcare workers in providing support to smokers and users of tobacco in general. One of the most important outcomes of the workshop was launching the first comprehensive Jordanian Guideline for TDT(released in Arabic) , which was prepared by the Cancer Control Office (CCO) at KHCC in collaboration with Ministry of Health (MoH) and other health institutions.

70 participants attended the workshop, representing various professions including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, and dentistry. Participant affiliations included the Ministry of Health, Jordan Food & Drug Administration, the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA), public and private universities, and various other medical societies and institutions.

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The workshop builds on KHCC’s on-going efforts in tobacco control education: over the past 3 years, KHCC has trained more than 1500 participants, half of them from Jordan, through workshops held in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Kuwait).

The workshop addressed the harms of tobacco use and its association with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, and chronic lung diseases. In addition, the team trained participants on evidence-based interventions to address tobacco dependence, focusing primarily on counseling and motivational interviewing, the use of pharmacotherapy, and how to build individualized patient plans for tobacco dependence treatment. Throughout, trainers utilized case studies from their practice to provide a practical component to the workshop.

Dr. Feras Hawari, the regional director for Global Bridges in EMR and the director of the Cancer Control Office at KHCC commented on the workshop’s importance: “In light of the increase in tobacco prevalence especially between youth and the high prevalence of waterpipe consumption in both youth and females, it is important to focus on TDT. We must create awareness among healthcare providers regarding the highly addictive nature of tobacco and their role in spreading this awareness within their communities and how they can help tobacco users to quit, particularly since local studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of smokers have the desire to quit smoking”.

The Jordanian TDT Guidelines were distributed to all participants in the workshop, and cover the most important interventions for TDT, such as brief advice; face to face support and individualized treatment plans; and pharmacotherapies for TDT. The guidelines also contain practical flowcharts that describe to providers how to execute these interventions. In addition, the guidelines cover other topics to strengthen healthcare providers’ knowledge about tobacco control such as the specific harms of tobacco use and the benefits of quitting smoking, the nature of nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms, in addition to other topics.

Dr. Hiba Ayub, Head of Tobacco Control at the Cancer Control Office stated that the guidelines have been based on an updated comprehensive literature review and rely throughout on previously developed international evidence-based guidelines and published scientific studies. The guidelines can thus serve as a reliable reference for healthcare providers and educators interested in tobacco control and TDT.

Several participant recommendations have emerged as a result of the workshop such as the need to intensify TDT training workshops for healthcare providers so as to enable them to provide effective and evidence-based interventions, the importance of increasing the number of TDT clinics across Jordan, the importance of screening for tobacco use, and the need to integrate TDT in all healthcare clinics and centers in the country.