Jordan’s first WSO Angels Diamond Award winner became stroke ready just two years ago. Now the success of Princess Basma Hospital in Irbid is encouraging other hospitals in the region to join the Stroke Force that is giving stroke patients in Jordan a second chance at life.
Called the Bride of the North for its outstanding natural beauty, the city of Irbid in Jordan is both a bustling provincial Middle Eastern town and a vibrant college town, its nightlife animated by the youthful energy of 70,000 students.
The second largest by population after the capital Amman, metropolitan Irbid is home to over 2 million people, several notable museums that trace its history to the Bronze Age, and more internet cafes in a single kilometre than anywhere else in the world. Most of the inhabitants of this city of contrasts are served by public healthcare institutions under the Ministry of Health that in 2017 approved construction of Princess Basma Hospital to further its vision of providing healthcare equity and efficiency at a regional level. At the end of 2019, the new hospital became the proving ground for improved stroke care in Jordan when the stroke pathway was implemented under the direction of lead Consultant Neurologist Dr Waleed Batayha.
Princess Basma Hospital was starting from scratch. It had no previous experience in stroke management, a limited number of beds and a heavy workload. But with dedication and team spirit, and Dr Batayha’s inspired leadership, the hospital became stroke-ready by early 2020 and soon achieved a median door-to-needle time of 40 minutes.
The “dry run” for stroke care at Princess Basma positively impacted so many lives that after a report of its success reached the Ministry of Health, the service was expanded to four government hospitals. And at Princess Basma itself, where stroke was now being treated regularly and with an abundance of love, the team’s confidence and ambition grew. They registered their treatment data with the registry of stroke care quality RES-Q, which made them eligible for a WSO Angels Award based on their performance against the quality measures contained in the Tier System.
In the third quarter of 2021, Princess Basma not only became the first hospital in Jordan to earn an Angels Award; they were recognised with a Diamond Award given to hospitals whose commitment to stroke care excellence includes CT imaging for 90% of suspected strokes, treating 25% of stroke patients with recanalisation, achieving door-to-needle times under 45 minutes in 50% of cases, dysphagia screening for 90% of stroke patients, and caring for patients in a dedicated stroke unit or ICU. In a commendable display of consistency, they would win their second Diamond Award in Q4.
The stroke team from Princess Basma received their award from Dr Waleed Batayha during a training event for over 230 doctors and nurses arranged by the Angels Initiative in Jordan.
Angels consultant Bayan Alfoqha, a graduate of the University of Jordan who having lost her own grandfather to stroke made it her mission to ensure that other grandfathers could hold on to their memories and make new ones, was the power behind the two-day accredited training programme called the Stroke Force Project. Training drew on the educational reources available on the Angels website and targeted four government hospitals with the objective of maintaining standards of care in some hospitals, enhance others and standardising stroke management throughout the network.
The Stroke Force Project had an immediate impact on stroke management at government hospitals, Bayan reports. It laid the groundwork for more lives to be saved by ensuring stroke patients in Jordan receive the best possible care.