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Public Health in Jordan

Jordan has quite an advanced health care system, although services remain highly concentrated in Amman. Government figures have put total health spending in 2002 at some 7.5 percent of Gross domestic product (GDP), while international health organizations place the figure even higher, at approximately 9.3 percent of GDP. Jordan was ranked by the World Bank to be the number one health care services provider in the region and among the top 5 in the world, as well as being the top medical tourism destination in the Middle East and North Africa.

 
The country’s health care system is divided between public and private institutions. In the public sector, the Ministry of Health operates 679 primary health-care centers and 27 hospitals, accounting for 37 percent of all hospital beds in the country; the military’s Royal Medical Services runs 11 hospitals, providing 24 percent of all beds; and the Jordan University Hospital accounts for 3 percent of total beds in the country. The private sector provides 36 percent of all hospital beds, distributed among 56 hospitals. The King Hussein Cancer Center is the only specialized cancer treatment facility in the Middle East. It is one of the top cancer treatment facilities in the world. 
 
According to 2003 estimates, the rate of prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was less than 0.1 percent. According to a United Nations Development Program report, Jordan has been considered malaria-free since 2001. Cases of tuberculosis declined by half during the 1990s, but tuberculosis remains an issue and an area needing improvement. Jordan experienced a brief outbreak of bird flu in March 2006. Non communicable diseases such as cancer also are a major health issue in Jordan. Childhood immunization rates have increased steadily over the past 15 years; by 2002 immunizations and vaccines reached more than 95 percent of children under five.
 
Jordan is an emerging medical tourism destination, with related revenues exceeding one billion dollars in 2007. More than 250,000 patients from other countries sought treatment in Jordan that year. This included an estimated 45,000 Iraqis and approximately 25,000 patients each from Palestine and Sudan. An estimated 1,800 US citizens, 1,200 UK citizens, and 400 Canadians also sought treatment in Jordan that year. Treatment costs can be as low as 25 percent of costs in the US. The country’s competitive pricing and high quality health services have been attracting regional patients from other Middle Eastern and North African countries including Yemen, Algeria, Iraq, Palestine and Sudan. The World Bank ranked Jordan as being the top medical tourism destination in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Israel. 
 
Jordan’s physicians and surgeons are all proficient in the English language as medical school is taught solely in English throughout the country. These surgeons set themselves apart and excel through training, practicing or affiliations with top institutions in the United States such as Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic, and Clevland Clinic. According to the CIA World Fact book, the life expectancy in Jordan is 78.55 years, one of the highest in the world and the second highest in the region (after Israel). 99% of Jordan's population has access to clean water and sanitation despite it being one of the world’s poorest in water resources.
 
Significant achievements have been made in the health field over the last three decades making Jordan stand as one of the best countries in the region. Jordan has developed an enviable record in terms of caring for the health of its citizens despite its modest resources. The kingdom’s basic health indicators are good and improving gradually. A variety of national health programmes have dramatically cut the risk of infectious disease in recent years, for example there have been no recorded cases of either polio or croup since 1995 and only 59 cases of measles were recorded in 2008 compared to 1212 in 1979 .Jordan achieved universal child immunization in 1988 and has made considerable progress in reducing the major health risks to infants and children. Since the early eighties; all national socioeconomic plans have emphasized the right to health and health care. Major progress was achieved in lowering the infant and child mortality rates, as well as the maternal mortality rates. Currently, Jordan is one of the countries with the lowest infant and maternal mortality rates in the region.