(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Ministry of Health will focus this year on strengthening mental health services in the Kingdom's public hospitals and health centres, a senior official said on Saturday.
Minister of Health Abdul Latif Wreikat said that while primary health services are also important, "we have already developed these services".
He explained that due to the implementation of the national immunisation programme, the Kingdom is now almost free of diseases that can be prevented by vaccination.
Jordan was one of the first countries in the region to introduce the MMR vaccination, which protects most individuals from measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), the minister said.
He explained that the ministry plans to focus on improving mental health services due to the "rise in cases referred to the ministry's health facilities".
"We do not have accurate figures on mental health cases in Jordan, but we have noticed a rise in the number of patients seeking treatment," Wreikat told The Jordan Times, attributing the increase to the traumatic events in the region and the difficult economic situation.
According to World Health Organisation estimates, between 10 and 25 per cent of the Kingdom's population suffers from some type of psychological malady.
The minister made his remarks yesterday on the occasion of World Health Day, observed annually on April 7.
Meanwhile, a Department of Statistics (DoS) report showed that Jordan has achieved substantial development in medical services since 1950.
The report, issued Saturday, indicated that the number of hospitals in the Kingdom had increased to 106 by the end of 2010 compared to 14 hospitals in 1950.
The number of hospital beds increased from 464 to 11,779 during the same period, according to the DoS.
The development of the health sector has had a positive impact on the health conditions of Jordanians, especially infants and children under the age of five, the report revealed.
Life expectancy increased to 71.6 years for men and 74.4 years for women in 2009, from 57 years for men and 62 years for women in the year 1976.
Moreover, the number of maternal and child health centres affiliated with the Ministry of Health increased from 307 centres in 1996 to 432 in 2010, according to the report.