Communicable Diseases

By working in the area of communicable diseases, the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality of preventable diseases. More specifically, EMPHNET’s goals are to improve health by interrupting the transmission chains of diseases among at-risk populations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). The Communicable Diseases and Emergencies Division (CDED) at EMPHNET engages with health security-related projects on initiatives for the prevention of epidemics, early detection of biological and chemical threats, and rapid assessment.

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Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Several demographic, structural, and environmental factors, such as armed conflict, political instability, hard to reach populations, high birth rates and population density…

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Emerging & Re-emerging Diseases

Emerging and reemerging diseases know no boundaries. As such, strengthening security and safety in order to detect and control infectious diseases is instrumental for ensuring health security…

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Other Communicable Diseases

In addition to activities for surveillance and response to vaccine-preventable diseases, SARIs, and MERS, EMPHNET is involved in efforts for other communicable diseases relevant to EMR…

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Approach

Communicable diseases remain a significant public health burden in the EMR. The region faces many challenges in controlling the spread of these diseases, largely resulting from insufficient infrastructure and inadequate capacities of health care workers, technologies, and systems (e.g. public health surveillance systems and response capacities). Food-, water-, and vector-borne diseases; vaccine preventable diseases; emerging and re-emerging infections; and diseases from antimicrobial resistance are prevalent in the region. EMPHNET’s guiding principal is to build capacities and support vulnerable areas in a culturally-sensitive and timely manner. Specifically, EMPHNET is actively involved in areas related to: (a) immunizations and vaccine preventable diseases, such as polio, (b) emerging and re-emerging diseases, such as Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), (c) brucellosis, and (d) the surveillance of severe acute respiratory-tract infections (SARIs).

 

Collaboration

The Communicable Diseases and Emergency Division (CDED) at EMPHNET is involved in a range of activities to control infectious diseases and to improve health security in the region. The CDED is working to improve rapid disease detection, assessment, investigation, and response; to increase risk communication; and to support emergency preparedness and response. Importantly, the CDED uses these opportunities to strengthen health systems at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels and to maximize the skills of Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) graduates and the regional public health work force.

 

Partnership

EMPHNET works and collaborates with Ministries of Health of the EMR member states, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), and other national and international organizations.

 

Resources

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). Communicable Disease Control annual. http://www.bccdc.ca/dis-cond/comm-manual/default.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/

World Health Organization (WHO). Communicable disease in the Eastern Mediterranean Region prevention and control 2010-2011. http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/116803

WHO. Global Alert and Response (GAR): Coronavirus infections. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/