Categories: Community Engagement.

Al Malath was established in February 1993 with the aim to tackle an important human need. The need for patients with incurable illnesses not to suffer or feel needless and often endless pain. The need not to be seen as a lost battle or a medical failure, the need for palliative care.

Although this need was recognized in Jordan for a while, it was not realized until a group of people got together to share experiences. This group had two things in common – they had witnessed and lived painful experiences with the terminal illness of a beloved family member, relative or friend, and they all had the will to grow out of this experience and translate it into practical help and create collective awareness which in turn laid the foundations for the idea to take root. Our personal insight gave us the strength and determination to help alleviate the pain, suffering and isolation of our unfortunate terminally ill fellow human beings and their families. Out of that personal pain, we began our journey in community service, and the idea of Al-Malath Foundation for Palliative Care was born.

Our vision included a feeling of compassion for dying persons and their families, as well as demonstrable evidence that terminally ill patients can be made more comfortable without incurring any greater costs. We realized that it was the right time to start the service, and to help others overcome the obstacles to better care for the dying. The conclusion was made that there was talent, interest and some individually developed expertise in Jordan, which needed to be coordinated and guided to help develop palliative care services and a national awareness of its importance.

It was also our aim to encourage people to treat death not as something unnatural, shameful or wrong but as a natural conclusion to life, however untimely it might be. The time to root out the fears and misconceptions that lay behind distorted views and to teach all of us to honor the labor of those who were about to complete their journey.

In February 1993, our vision to make a difference was realized by the establishment of Al-Malath Foundation for Palliative Care for the provision of palliative care services for a better quality of life in our efforts to bridge the gap between the services available to the terminal cancer patient and the help they actually needed. Al-Malath Hospice program was the first of its kind in the Arab world to introduce a palliative, holistic concept of caring for the terminally ill and their family members.

As founders of the first hospice program in the Middle East, we believe that the success of our hospice experience so far, has been due in large, to creative and committed professionals, individuals and volunteers, and to the sharing of information and resources. In addition, a wide variety of collaborative efforts among individuals and programs have promoted the Hospice concept, and advocated for its recognition and inclusion as a legitimate and recognized health care alternative in the care of the terminally ill and their families. These same criteria will continue to be essential as the hospice movement matures, stabilizes and grows to meet new demands.

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