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Demographic Pressures Lead USAID To Focus On Healthcare Issues

According to USAID experts’ estimation, population in Jordan is expected to grow to double from six million to nearly 12 million persons by 2040. This growth will have a major impact on all aspects of life. According to Jay Knott, USAID Mission Director in Jordan, Last year Jordan received $513 million in aid from the US, $29 million of which was allocated to the health sector and healthcare improvements.27-5-01

Knott also said “Such an increase calls for a greater focus on public health and healthcare issues in the country in order to overcome a high prevalence in obesity, diabetes, cancer and hypertension.” USAID is now focusing on family and women’s health with projects that seek to increase the Kingdom’s capacity to treat patients and raise awareness on prevention methods. At the Zaina Bint Al Awam School near Zarqa, students receive information on oral hygiene, diabetes prevention and cancer.

Dr. Talal Obeidat, director of Prince Feisal Hospital noted that, with the support of USAID, maternity ward and emergency room facilities were expanded to help accommodate the nearly half-million people in the area. Jordan is also seeing lower maternal mortality rates and increased rates of survival for premature infants as a result of development and awareness efforts. Knott pointed out that “Three years ago, 70 per cent of breast cancer patients were diagnosed in the third or fourth stages of the disease; now, there has been a dramatic shift towards women being diagnosed in the first and second stages, when the disease is more easily treated.”

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