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Tuesday, November 19, 2002

King Hussein Cancer Center

Queen Rania joins King Abdullah in unveiling the new name of the Amal Cancer Center- King Hussein Cancer Center

(The Jordan Times , By Dina Al Wakeel - Amman) Al Amal centre renamed King Hussein Cancer Centre

During a visit to the Zaha Mango Paediatrics Ward, Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania unveiled the Amal Cancer Centre's new name, the King Hussein Cancer Centre.

Their Majesties visited with young patients of the centre on the occasion of Ramadan and spent time with their families.

“The change in name came in recognition of His late Majesty King Hussein who fought the disease and confronted it with courage,” said HRH Princess Ghida, chairperson of the centre. “He [King Hussein] worked hard to ensure the success of this centre, considered the region's sole cancer-specified hospital,” added the Princess.

King Abdullah and Queen Rania were briefed on plans to upgrade the medical services at the facility to meet international standards.

The centre is working also to attract more expertise to advance its capabilities and offer its services to more Jordanian and Arab patients.

Their Majesties also met with the centre's new Director General Samir Khleif, a graduate of the University of Jordan and a senior researcher at the US-based National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Under an agreement with the NCI, one of the top cancer centres in the world, the King Hussein Cancer Centre will benefit from the American institute's experience, training and technical support.

A similar agreement was agreed upon with the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the world's premier centres for research and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children, primarily paediatric cancers.

Khleif has thus far managed to draw back six Jordanian physicians working in the US, and is working on attracting more Jordanian expertise, not merely oncologists but also pharmacologists, laboratory technicians, and healthcare professionals to boost the centre's medical staff.

“There are qualified people here, but they were not enough at the centre,” Khleif told journalists at a press conference held following Their Majesties' visit. Khleif said he will work with the centre team to provide “excellent” and comprehensive cancer treatment to patients.

“ This means taking into consideration the physical, psychological and social aspects of the patients and their families through team effort," he said.

He said the centre's objectives are achievable through access to the latest and most updated information technologies, such as the introduction of “telemedicine” which would provide physicians with swift second opinions through telecommunication links with international cancer institutes such as the NCI.

Khleif said that although cancer is the second most frequent cause of death in Jordan, with an estimated 4,000 new cases diagnosed annually, the numbers are within the global average and are not alarming.

The King Hussein Cancer Centre is also planning to set up a communications office to carry out awareness campaigns on the importance of early detection, prevention and the real meaning of “cancer”.

“This particular disease has always been surrounded by myths, we will try to acquaint people with the correct idea,” explained Khleif.

He added that the centre might establish clinics in governorates, either in new buildings or in already existing hospitals, so as to facilitate treatment for patients residing outside Amman.