GHD/EMPHNET Participates in the First Scientific Conference on Acute Respiratory Infection in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
The Eastern Mediterranean Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance Network (EMARIS) held the first scientific conference on acute respiratory infection in the Eastern Mediterranean region in Amman, Jordan, between December 11 and 14, 2017.
The first edition of the conference was launched by the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO-EMRO) under the theme Better Understanding, Better Preparedness, and Better Response. Its sessions discussed means to improve acute respiratory infection surveillance, data management, and explored supportive policies for vaccine introduction and use.
Representatives of the ministries of health within the WHO-EMRO’s member states, the WHO Headquarters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), GHD/EMPHNET, and academic institutions from the region, Europe, and the US participated in this event.
Its opening ceremony included a welcoming message by the Acting Regional Director of WHO-EMRO Dr. Jaouad Mahjour (delivered by the WHO Country Representative in Jordan Dr. Maria Cristina Profili); and speeches by the Deputy Director of Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC Dr. Jacqueline Katz; and the Executive Director of GHD/EMPHNET Dr. Mohannad Al-Nsour.
Throughout the conference itself, panelists and speakers focused on identifying challenges and solutions related to influenza surveillance. They highlighted the significance of using epidemiological surveillance, laboratory capacity building, the role of national influenza centers in influenza surveillance and virus sharing for informed policy and practice, and the importance of enhancing understanding of influenza epidemiology. They also discussed improving preparedness; addressing pandemic influenza threats; understanding the challenges of increased uptakes of the influenza vaccine; and identifying opportunities for improvement at the level of human-animal surveillance.
The delegation from GHD/EMPHNET also participated in a panel discussion that explored One-Health-oriented influenza surveillance and how countries can improve data collection and early response to potential zoonotic threats.
The conference also featured oral and abstract presentations from the region and around the globe. One of these poster presentations was presented by the delegation from GHD/EMPHNET. This poster presentation highlighted the burden of influenza among hospitalized infants and non-ill infants in Jordan.