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Haya, like other moms in her community and around the world, was struggling to put food on the table for her children and to take care of their needs. Unhealthy meal choices and fatigue piled on the kilograms over time and tending to her weight issue and health was far down her list of priorities.
Haya learned that her poor lifestyle choices could not be ignored anymore when she was informed that she had hypertension. It dawned on her that at only 38, she was categorized as obese, had hypertension, and that she was at a risk for a myriad of other diseases that endanger her life.
Though skeptical due to her multiple previous failed trials with weight loss, Haya made a brave decision to try again and joined the Healthy Community Clinic in the comprehensive community clinic in her village she heard so much about.
As she described, her understanding of taking control of health was revolutionized in the awareness sessions she attended in the clinic. Small changes, she realized, are what it takes to get the results she was after.
When she first attended the clinic, Haya had a BMI of 30.44 and she was able to bring it down to 27.36, consequently her blood pressure normalized and she as able to maintain blood pressure readings at 130/85 (155/114 hg and weight of 89 kgs before joining the HCC)
In the Healthy Community Clinic, Haya attended sessions that focused on lifestyle modifications, during which she received a tailored diet plan from the nutritionist and attended physical activity sessions with a trainer.
Haya states: “I became eager to weigh myself in at every visit after dreading the scale for so long. I feel as if I have a lot of more energy and feel less tired. I’m also wearing my older smaller sized clothes again, can you imagine!” Haya shared with us, “The best part of this is that I’m also changing my children’s eating habits. I feel like I am at the center of my family’s wellbeing and am aware of the effect I have on my children’s health and how my wellness affects theirs. I learned a lot about this during the sessions, we changed so many of our unhealthy habits as a family, for example we eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than before and I now know how to focus on cooking meals that are rich in nutrients especially iron.”
The Royal Health Awareness Society (RHAS) in Jordan launched in 2011 The Healthy Community Clinic (HCC) in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) at the primary healthcare centers. The program aims to build the capacity of participating health centers to provide better preventative services to lower the incidence of chronic disease and reduce future complications. Activities in the HCC include interactive sessions addressing health topics of priority, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, allergies, reproductive health, obesity, the importance of healthy diet, physical activity and smoking cessation. The HCC program expanded to reach 52 healthcare centers and to serve 14,322 beneficiaries directly, and 118,136 community members indirectly. The program also built the capacity of 179 staff member at the Ministry of health to deliver the awareness and educational sessions at the centers.
RHAS was established, in 2005, in Jordan to promote health awareness and to empower Jordanians to adopt healthy lifestyles and behaviors. To achieve its mission, RHAS adopts a comprehensive approach, through implementing preventative public health programs targeting schoolchildren, youth at universities and the community at large. NCDs preventative services integrated at the primary healthcare centers is a main task of the RHAS to reduce incidence of risk factors of chronic disease for those at high risk, and empower NCDs patients to manage their diseases and decrease future complications through Healthy Community Clinic Program. RHAS works closely with other NGOs in Jordan to advocate for NCDs prevention and Tobacco control. Since 2015, RHAS has led the Coordination Group for Tobacco Control in Jordan to coordinate tobacco control activities amongst different organizations in Jordan, and to contribute to the National, and FCTC Tobacco Control Strategies. The global NCD Civil Society Atlas published the awareness and advocacy work of civil societies of tobacco control in Jordan as an international successful example under the title: “Using a Media Campaign to Spread Public Awareness about Jordan’s Smoking Ban”.
RHAS is a leading organization at the Jordan NCD alliance, and Middle Eastern NCD alliance, which were established in alignment with the goals of global NCD alliance. On the global level, RHAS has participated at “WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing of NCDs Prevention and Control” April-2018, and the UN-HLM, 2018 to advocate for NCDs prevention and control. RHAS has also conducted the first workshop on Adolescent health and NCDs advocacy in the EM region in partnership with NCD-Child.