Oncology



King Hussein Cancer Foundation enables cutting-edge cancer treatment for all patients
 

Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation. Callan Emery spoke to Her Highness to find out about the Foundation’s work in the Kingdom and the region.
 

Callan Emery: To start, can you tell me briefly about the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) and the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC)?

Princess Dina Mired: The King Hussein Cancer Foundation and King Hussein Cancer Center were established by a Royal Decree in 1997 as independent nongovernmental, not-for-profit institutions. Both are governed by a Board of Trustees chaired by HRH Princess Ghida Talal. Dr Mahmud Sarhan is the CEO of the King Hussein Cancer Center, while I am the Director General of the Foundation.

The Center and Foundation work side by side to provide state of the art comprehensive cancer care to the people of Jordan and the Middle East. The Centre’s focus is on providing excellence in clinical care, cancer education and medical training. The Foundation, on the other hand, focuses on fundraising and development efforts to support the Center.

CE: The King Hussein Cancer Center enjoys a high reputation among medical establishments and specifically those dealing with cancer treatment. Can you tell me more about KHCC?

PDM:
Approximately 4,000 new adult and paediatric patients from Jordan and the region are treated at the Center each year. KHCC also sees close to 100,000 outpatients, treats all types of cancer, and performs around 100 bone marrow transplants (BMT) annually.

In fact, the Center’s BMT programme is one of the largest and most successful programmes in the Middle East, with cure rates comparable to international standards. KHCC’s BMT programme recently began performing transplants utilising related and unrelated cord blood, making it the only programme in Jordan and the second in the region, to offer such highly-specialised transplants.

Just last December, we joined KHCC in its first BMT Survival Day to celebrate the lives of patients who received bone marrow transplants. I am proud of one of the success stories in particular: a patient who was the first adult in the region to receive an unrelated umbilical cord blood transplant. This is yet another medical achievement for our team at KHCC.

We are also affiliated with some of the best cancer centres in the world, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Susan G. Komen for the Cure USA , the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, all of which are in the USA. The Center also has agreements with the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, the National Cancer Institute in Egypt, and the Stefan Morsch Foundation in Germany.

CE:
I understand that KHCC has received several international accreditations. Can you tell me a bit more about this?

PDM: We are very proud of the medical achievements of the King Hussein Cancer Center. KHCC was first accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in February 2006, and earned a renewal of this accreditation earlier this year. The Center also received accreditation from JCAHO as a disease-specific cancer centre, making it the only centre in the Arab world – and only the sixth worldwide – to carry such an honour. Just recently, KHCC achieved an additional accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) for its exceptionally high quality of pathology and laboratory services. KHCC also received an accreditation from the Health Accreditation Council of Jordan (HCAC) which affirms that KHCC is applying the national healthcare quality standards for patient care, patient safety, and organisational excellence.

CE:
How will the rise in cancer rates affect financial coverage for cancer treatment and access to cancer treatment in coming years?

PDM:
The reality that we are facing today is a sobering one. It is one where cancer rates worldwide are growing at an alarming speed and are affecting an increasingly younger population. The latest Economist Intelligence Unit report estimates that by the year 2020, there will be a frightening 16.8 million new cancer cases annually worldwide. Add to that the fact that 75% of all new cancer cases will be in low and middle-income countries, which are the least equipped to deal with this cancer burden.

With such chilling statistics, we should at least give cancer its own line item in health agendas. We are all aware of the taboos and stigmas attached to cancer in the developing world, but that should not stop us from addressing this issue publicly, aggressively and at the top levels of policy and decision making.

At this point, some countries are struggling purely with the delivery of basic treatment, while others are struggling with covering treatment costs. Early detection and prevention programmes are practically nonexistent, and if there are any ad hoc programmes, they are mostly led by NGOs … which is certainly not enough for a widescale impact. The cost of cancer treatment is high, and governments alone may not be able to bear this burden. We must invest in public awareness and early detection measures, or we will be faced with a challenge that we may not be prepared to deal with.

CE:
How does the Foundation address this challenge in Jordan?

PDM:
The fight against cancer is indeed not easy. It needs a collective effort from the whole community; businesses, organisations, individuals and the government. We cannot do it alone.

Both the Foundation and Center are meeting this challenge together by increasing public awareness efforts and early detection services. The Center also works very hard to maintain its position as one of the best leading cancer treatment centres in the world, and provide the best clinical and healthcare service it can possibly deliver. As for the Foundation, we support the mission of the Center in development and fundraising by engaging the community at large in our awareness and fund development.

CE:
You have been referred to as a community-based NGO as opposed to a Royal NGO in a recent study. Can you explain the significance of this?

PDM:
We have been called a community NGO and not a “Royal NGO” because the Foundation succeeded in unifying and enlisting all segments of society in the fight against cancer. We work with all segments of the community from grassroots level to policy making levels. We drive and lead all efforts be it in awareness and message delivery on cancer prevention and early detection.

We also work with the cooperate and business sectors and individuals alike, to raise funds to support the King Hussein Cancer Center in upgrading the medical capacity of the Center, obtaining the latest medical equipment, expanding services and care, and supporting training and education.

The Foundation also channels funds to support the prevention and control of cancer and to help cover treatment costs for underprivileged patients and psycho-social and therapeutic programmes for patients and their families.

CE:
How do you approach fundraising and where does the money go?

PDM:
The King Hussein Cancer Foundation is one of the first NGO’s in Jordan to institutionalise fundraising as an operation based on best international practices. We are credible and transparent in our efforts, and have a highly dedicated team supporting fundraising operations. In short, we run our operations as a ‘business with a heart’.

All donations and contributions from KHCF’s fundraising activities are channelled to help achieve three main goals; upgrading the medical capacity of KHCC, supporting the prevention and control of Cancer and supporting underprivileged patients, who cannot afford treatment at the Center.

In fact, almost all the funds generated from such campaigns, such as the Zakat (alms) Campaign, are channelled to the “Goodwill Fund” to cover patients who are financially unable to meet the burden of treatment cost. We cover patients from Jordan as well as Palestine and Iraq. However, the Foundation is also faced with a burden; treatment costs are rising, and so is the number of cancer patients who cannot afford to pay. We are reaching out to the donor community, the corporate sector and the community at large to support the goodwill funds, because as I said before, the fight against cancer is not easy and requires support from all of us.

CE:
Can you tell me about the cancer insurance policy at KHCF?

PDM:
KHCF’s non-profit ‘Health Care Program for Cancer Coverage’ is the only cancer financial coverage programme in Jordan that covers patients exclusively at KHCC for a minimal annual fee. The programme is not only limited to Jordanians, but is open to other nationalities as well. In fact, we have a large membership from expatriates and from the region.

The Program’s mission is twofold: First to provide much needed financial coverage to its members at one of the best cancer treatment centres in the world; the King Hussein Cancer Center. Second, the programme provides early detection services for its members.

CE:
What has KHCF and KHCC done to raise public awareness and what impact have you had so far?

PDM:
We realised early on that the best defence against cancer is a good offense. We continue to enforce the message that prevention and early detection can save your life.

On a national scale, the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center have been entrusted with the leadership of the Jordan Breast Cancer Program by the Ministry of Health. We are leading an aggressive nationwide programme to promote the early detection of breast cancer – a cruel burden plaguing the lives of millions of women worldwide, and the number one cancer afflicting women in our country.

As a result, in three short years since the programme was launched, the number of women presenting themselves at stages 3 and 4 of breast cancer has almost halved from 70% to 35%. For the first time, we have also witnessed the emergence of stage zero, a stage which did not exist in Jordan before.

We have also established the Smoking Cessation Program by which we offer smokers medical assistance and pharmacological treatment in addition to social support in an effort to achieve our aim of reducing tobacco-related diseases.

Moreover, we offer a 24-hour hotline which fields thousands of calls from members of the public inquiring about anything related to cancer. Our Office of Cancer Communication and Public Awareness is also responsible for an outreach programme, and has a Screening and Early Detection Clinic which offers tests, advice and follow up where needed. Lectures are organised throughout Jordan in schools, universities and professional associations.

CE:
What role does KHCF play in cancer research?

PDM:
Our aim, through KHCC, is to become a nucleus for clinical research in the region. Dr Sarhan and his team are constantly working to achieve this goal through implementing the latest treatment protocols available to us, and developing partnerships with leading academic institutions, governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies both locally and abroad.

In addition, KHCC strives to keep its medical professionals and staff up-to-date when it comes to medical findings and research. That is why we have established a virtual library with access to the latest clinical research in the field, as well as the top medical journals and libraries. This virtual library is available for the use of the medical community at large and researchers and students alike.

With your donation, the King Hussein Cancer Center can continue to buy the latest medical equipment, help underprivileged patients and continue its much needed work in spreading awareness about the importance of early detection and its subsequent link to cancer cure.

To help support the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center and its various programmes, you can donate through:

1. Online Donations:
For online donations, visit the KHCF secure website at: www.khcf.jo

2. Wire Transfer Donations:
Account Name: King Hussein Cancer Foundation/General Donation
Account Number: 0118/254655-8/507
Bank Address: Arab Bank PLC- Shmeisani
Branch, Amman, Jordan
Swift Code: ARABJOAX100

3. Cheque and Cash Donations:
All cheque donations should be made payable to ‘King Hussein Cancer Foundation’ and sent directly to the
King Hussein Cancer Foundation,
PO Box 35102, Amman, 11180, Jordan.

Tax exemption for Jordanians
As stipulated by Jordan Law No. 7, article 15 for 1998, the entire amount donated by any person to the King Hussein Cancer Foundation shall be precluded from income subject to income tax during the fiscal year.

● For more information, call the Foundation at: +962 6 5544960. Visit:
www.khcf.jo

 


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ate of upload: 26th Jan 2010

                                  
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