On September 10, 2018, the Iraq Ministry of Health (MoH) organized a meeting for stakeholders involved in the Iraq Mass Gathering Project. Held in Baghdad, the meeting was attended by representatives of various MoH departments: Public health Directorate, Iraq Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Iraq Injury Surveillance, Directorate of Operations, Primary Healthcare Department, Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), International Health Department, Iraq FETP, as well as the Health Directorates of Baghdad Resafa, Baghdad Kerkh, and Karbala. This meeting was supported and attended by GHD/EMPHNET.
Representing GHD/EMPHNET, Iraq FETP Advisor Dr. Faris Lami, began the meeting with a presentation on the description and the timeline of the project. A discussion among the participants on previous experiences and lessons learned followed.
The meeting was primarily dedicated to discussing the project’s main activity for 2018. This project will cover real-time surveillance in Karbala- Najaf route during the Arba’een mass gathering.
The meeting participants concluded that given the large number of mobile clinics available during the event, the moving population, and the different the background of the care providers, absence of formal surveillance tools will make the project extremely valuable. It will be so as it will offer timely detection, notification, and action.
During this discussion, Dr. Ihsan Jaafer the Director General of Public Health at the Iraq MoH said that “Real time surveillance for different diseases during mass gatherings will be a remarkable development not only in disease surveillance but also in the whole preparedness and response to public health events during Mass Gathering.”
The meeting concluded with discussions of issues relevant to the upcoming training activities that will take place for the data collectors involved in this surveillance.