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 of disease outbreaks, including emerging and re-emerging infections (natural, accidental, and intentional). In working to achieve these objectives, the CDED supports regional trainings for rapid response teams, implementation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), public health preparedness for mass gatherings, and proper biorisk management, including biosafety and biosecurity.
By undertaking a variety of activities and trainings related to bioscience capacity building, EMPHNET aims to strengthen the biosecurity and biosafety infrastructure in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) to detect and respond to eminent public health crises and threats. In addition, as a designated implementer in the U.S. Department of State’s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), EMPHNET is undertaking a four-pronged project from September 2014 to September 2015 covering the areas of: (1) rapid assessment and investigation of outbreaks of suspicious origins, (2) “cradle to grave” security of biological samples, (3) emerging and re-emerging infections, including MERS-CoV investigation, biorisk mitigation, and response strengthening, and (4) disease detection, investigation, and control during mass gathering (MG) events. EMPHNET is also engaged in project for the development of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Incident Command System (ICS) in Jordan.
The CDED at EMPHNET has been involved in rapid detection, investigation, and containment of outbreaks and response to emergencies at the regional level. It has also trained rapid response teams for countries in the EMR that have been most affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. In addition the CDED has worked with EMPHNET member states to improve their public health capacities for mass gatherings, networking, strategic use of the human work force at the regional and global level, capacity building and information sharing through trainings, seminars, roundtables and regional scientific conference.
The Communicable Diseases and Emergency Division (CDED) at EMPHNET is engaged 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. 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.
EMPHNET works in partnership with Ministries of Health (MOH) of the EMR member states, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), and other national and international organizations to promote public health and applied epidemiology. EMPHNET also works closely with TEPHINET (Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network), which has a major cooperative agreement and grants through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
EMPHNET receives support from the BEP to focus on early prediction of disease, outbreak response capacity, and risk reduction in the region. The BEP-related projects aim at preventing disease spread and potential public health problems and threats in the region with particular emphasis on rapid assessment and investigation of outbreaks, promoting security of biological samples in the region, strengthening detection of emerging and re-emerging diseases, and improving public health preparedness and responses to mass gathering (MG) events. BEP leverages technical resources and experts from U.S agencies, universities, international organizations, and NGOs in order to meet its core objectives. It operates within three major pillars: biosecurity/biosafety, disease detection and control, and scientist engagement.