World Health Organization and King Hussein Cancer host a collaborative regional workshop on tobacco dependence treatment

The King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) –a designated collaborating center of the World Health Organization (WHO)- concluded earlier this month a regional technical workshop on “Implementation of the WHO FCTC Guidelines on Treating Tobacco Dependence (TDT)”. The workshop was held in Amman-Jordan over two days.

The workshop was held under leadership from Dr. Fatimah El-Awa, regional advisor for Tobacco Free Initiative – WHO/EMR, and Dr. Feras Hawari, director of the Cancer Control Office and chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Service at KHCC. Dr. Hawari, director of the Cancer Control Office, commented on the need for this workshop saying: ‘In the coming few years, EMR is forecast to shoulder a staggering burden of tobacco-associated non-communicable diseases, be it in the form of healthcare costs, lost productivity, or premature death. Such costs are beyond anything that regional economies can handle. Despite its potential to preemptively address such threats, tobacco control -TDT specifically- is still not a national priority in most countries of the region. It is important for countries to address TDT as one component of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy that also includes public policies such as smoke-free public places and higher taxes.”

The workshop -bringing together practitioners and administrators from 15 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)- aimed to assess the status of treating tobacco dependence in EMR, and identify country needs in light of such a situational analysis. The workshop also hosted international and regional experts to share their experiences with the audience from the region. Building on case studies, working groups developed plans for taking TDT services in countries of the region to the next level. Specifically, participants worked on developing plans for strengthening implementation of FCTC guidelines in their own countries. During the first day, the workshop trained participants on treating tobacco dependence using the WHO training module on TDT in primary care. Within working groups, participants looked at system changes needed to introduce or strengthen TDT services within the setting of primary healthcare facilities in their respective countries.