Jordan Palliative Care Initiative: A WHO Demonstration Project

Jan Stjernswärd, Frank D. Ferris, Samir N. Khleif, Walid Jamous, Imad M. Treish, Mohammed Milhem, Mohammed Bushnaq, Ahmad Al Khateib, Mohammad Nayef Al Shtiat, Mary S. Wheeler, Ala Alwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A model for pain relief and palliative care for the Middle East has been established in Jordan. King Hussein Cancer Centre (KHCC) in Amman is now a truly comprehensive cancer center as it includes palliative care for inpatients, outpatients, and patients at home. This is especially important in a country and a region where over 75% of the cancer patients are incurable when diagnosed. To support effective palliative care delivery, there have been many significant changes in Jordan between 2001 and 2006. Regulations governing opioid prescribing have been changed to facilitate effective pain management. The national opioid quota has been increased. Cost-effective, generic, immediate-release morphine tablets are being produced in Jordan. Intensive, interactive bedside training courses for doctors, nurses, and clinical pharmacologists have started to overcome opiophobia and motivate health care professionals to take up palliative care as a profession. "Champions" for palliative care have emerged who are leading the development of palliative care in Jordan's health care systems and starting to support neighboring countries to develop pain relief and palliative care. While before 2003, fewer than 250 patients per year received palliative care, by 2006 more than 800 patients per year were receiving pain relief and palliative care through the KHCC and Al Basheer Hospital. The achieved changes and the unusually rapid and effective institutionalization of palliative care serve as a model for other countries in the Middle East region as to what should be done and how.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-633
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Jordan
  • drug availability
  • education
  • implementation
  • palliative care
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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