On August 3, 2016, EMPHNET and the Jordanian Ministry of Health (MoH) officially launched the National Biorisk Management Guidelines at a ceremony held in Amman, Jordan.
Jointly developed by EMPHNET and the Laboratory Directorate of the MoH, the guidelines serve as a framework for biosafety and biosecurity measures that can be implemented in laboratories throughout Jordan. The guidelines will reduce the risks of health hazards associated with laboratory work in all concerned sectors of society including human and animal health, agriculture, scientific research, and the biochemical industry as a whole.
Based on similar guidelines created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations, the guidelines consist of requirements for a proper biorisk management system. These include requirements related to policies, risk assessment and control, waste management, personal protective equipment, and other requirements that apply to contractors, visitors, and suppliers. The guidelines also provide sections for emergency response, corrective action, and accident investigation.
A collaboration of experts from various ministries and other governmental and civil society organizations worked together to design the guidelines with EMPHNET providing financial and technical support along the way.
The development of the guidelines was funded by a mini-grant offered through a collaborative project by EMPHNET and the Biosecurity Engagement Program of the U.S. Department of State. The project is a mini-grant competition designed to receive proposals for projects and initiatives that address pressing public health issues in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). The Jordanian Ministry of Health received the fund for National Biorisk Management Guidelines, as the proposal fit the competition’s scopes of work related to biorisk management.
In a speech delivered during the ceremony, the Executive Director of EMPHNET, Dr. Mohannad Al-Nsour, noted that EMPHNET “implement(s) projects in biorisk management through an agreement it signed with the Biosecurity Engagement Program of the U.S. Department of State, an example of which are biosafety and biosecurity workshops implemented in countries affected by Ebola outbreak, specifically Liberia and Guinea.”
Director of the MoH Hospital Administration, Dr. Ali Al-Saad, also spoke at the ceremony, noting that “the ministry plans to establish a biosecurity management department within the laboratory directorate which will oversee the implementation of these guidelines.”
The ceremony was attended by representatives from the MoH health directorates, the Royal Medical Services, the Public Security Department, the Jordan Standards and Metrology Organization, the Royal Scientific Society, the Princess Haya Biotechnology Center, the Ministries of Education and Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and others.