BMJ open 2017 04 077(4) e015269 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015269
Primary healthcare practitioners (PHCPs) can contribute to the control of cancer by promoting healthy lifestyles to patients. Given the scarcity of data in the Middle East on this subject, we sought to determine, through a cross-sectional survey, the status of healthy lifestyle promotion by PHCPs (physicians, nurses, midwives, nurse aids) in Jordan.
Building on published studies, an Arabic questionnaire was developed to measure knowledge, perceptions and practices of Jordanian PHCPs with regard to healthy lifestyle counselling. A purposive sample of 20 clinics covering the main regions of Jordan was selected and all PHCPs were asked to complete the questionnaire.
322 practitioners (32.3% physicians) responded (a 75.1% response rate). 24.4% of PHCPs were current cigarette smokers (physicians 44.2%). Roughly 58% of physicians and 50% of non-physicians reported advising the majority of patients to quit tobacco, but proportions were lower for providing other services (eg, asking about frequency of tobacco use, inquiring about diet and exercise, providing evidence-based guidance on quitting tobacco or improving diet and activity). Only 8% of the sample reported collectively asking the majority of patients about smoking status, exercise and diet; and providing evidence-based tips to improve these. Among physicians and non-physicians, 14.2% and 40.4% were able to identify the lifestyle-related risk factors associated with breast, colorectal and lung cancer. In multivariable analyses, confidence was the only significant variable associated with provision of counselling on healthy lifestyles.
Among Jordanian PHCPs, primary prevention services are underprovided, and data suggest ample room to improve PHCPs’ skills and practices.