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Country Name AFGHANISTAN
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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

2

2019

Intermediate

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Country Name BANGLADESH
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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

---

  2020

Advanced

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

20 (Advanced)

1 (Intermediate)

4 (Basic) 

1993

Advanced

Intermediate

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

8 (Advanced) 

1 (Intermediate) 

9 (Basic) 

 2010

Advanced

Intermediate

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

16 (Advanced)

1 (Basic)

 1998

Advanced

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

6 (Advanced)

1 (Basic)

  2010

Advanced

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

12 (Advanced)

13 (Basic)

2006

Advanced

Basic

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Country Name SAUDI ARABIA
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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

31 (Advanced)

3 (Basic)

 1989

Advanced

Intermediate

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

1 (Advanced)

1 (Intermediate)

4 (Basic)

  2017

Advanced

Intermediate

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

3 (Intermediate)

1 (Basic)

  2017

Intermediate

Basic

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Cohorts

Establishment Year

Modalities

5 (Advanced)

14 (Basic)

  2011

Advanced

Basic 

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As early as COVID-19 began to threaten the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), GHD|EMPHNET employed its scientific expertise to contribute to elevating the level of country alert and preparedness in the region. GHD|EMPHNET’s support intensified when with the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic in early March 2020.

 

Supporting Regional and Global Response Efforts through Our Public Health Emergency Management Center

Through its Public Health Emergency Management Center (PHEMC), GHD|EMPHNET has been providing technical support to its partners, namely in the development of guidelines, promotional material, and case studies to educate public health professionals-and the public at large-on COVID-19.  Coupled with this support is the provision of needed logistic assistance in GHD|EMPHNET’s countries of operation.

 

The PHEMC is also heavily engaged in contributing to online training centered around COVID-19 response, targeting health professionals, and graduates and residents of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) in the EMR. For instance, PHEMC has been supporting FETPs in the provision of training on contact tracing, rapid response, risk communication, infection control, as well as the development of training modalities tailored to COVID-19. PHEMC is also taking an active role in facilitating webinars at the regional level, particularly in relation to COVID-19 prevention in professional settings, regional NGO operational readiness, and rapid preparedness to contain COVID-19.

 

The PHEMC is devoting time to maintaining regular contact with partners as part of the organization’s engagement in coordinated response efforts in the region and globally. PHEMC has been in regular calls and meetings with FETPs; FETP networks; the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN); the Africa CDC Task Force for Novel Coronavirus (AfCOR); the WASH Cluster; UNICEF; and the WHO-EMRO Regional Crisis Management and Risk Communication and Community Engagement units.

 

Launching Our Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to COVID-19

Considering the World Health Organization Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO-EMRO) COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and the Global COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Strategy, we have developed the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to COVID-19 for a more coherent and efficient support to the diverse needs of the countries in the face of an unprecedented outbreak.

 

The strategy’s working areas are Cooperation and Coordination, Epidemiology and Health Information Management, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), Laboratory and diagnostics, Technical Expertise and Guidance, Surveillance, Rapid Response Teams, Infection Prevention and Control, Research and Innovation, Point of Entry, and Health system and post pandemic situation. Each of these areas have a list of activities which we have started implementing to promote preparedness and response to COVID-19 in the region.

 

We will be incorporating this strategy in the newly developed organizational strategy for years 2020-2022 to help secure support to countries in a concrete way to promote efficient and coherent preparedness and response to COVID-19. To read the full COVID-19 strategy, click here.

 

Field Epidemiology Training Programs in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

FETPs have shown their indispensable value to the region’s health system in responding to an unprecedented pandemic. Their key role was seen in supporting national surveillance functions. Not only are FETPs actively engaged in setting up and running of event and case-based surveillance, but they are also involved in surveillance data management, analysis and reporting of cases, as well as the development and distribution of a standard case definition for the COVID-19.

 

FETP residents in many countries are working with hospitals to develop isolation and infection control protocols, and they are assisting in collecting samples and sending them for laboratory testing to confirm COVID-19 suspected cases.

 

As COVID-19 front-liners, FETPs are also participating in screening passengers at different Points of Entries (POEs). Their roles range from running the thermal scanners installed at POEs, interviewing arrivals, filling-in surveillance forms, and contacting the arrivals in the follow up period.

 

FETPs have significantly contributed to the design and development of health education messages and promotional materials. Furthermore, FETPs in the entire region are directly and significantly involved in developing training materials and conducting training for various health professionals. This training includes Rapid Response Teams (RRT), contact tracing, lab and sample management, infection control, and cases management.

 

Using Online Platforms During COVID-19

 

Creating Opportunities for Virtual Dialogue Through Our WEBi Series Initiative

To optimize the timely and efficient use of information that can foster actions and decisions concerning the changing circumstances of the pandemic, we launched our Webinar initiative “EMPHNET WEBi Series,” which serves as a virtual dialogue platform set to engage a broad range of audience in support of encouraging online discussions. This series of webinars brings to the forefront important public health issues and problems challenging the EMR. Considering the current COVID-19 pandemic, the WEBi Series is expected to channel information and to enable the exchange of knowledge applicable to COVID-19 areas of concern as well as other public health issues in the long run. Webinars hosted within this series will become a major knowledge exchange tool for GHD|EMPHNET’s s public health programs.

 

Harnessing Social Media for Health Promotion

Utilizing its strong presence on social media platforms, GHD|EMPHNET is disseminating daily health awareness messages, providing COVID-19 updates from the region, and highlighting the region’s impressive work despite instability and other constraints. One tool that has been proven popular is our weekly live Q&A Facebook sessions. This one-hour long interaction among public health experts and audiences from the region addresses public questions related to COVID-19 treatment options, vaccine research, mental health in lockdowns, among other health concerns. These sessions are used mainly to debunk myths, battle rumors, and empower the public against COVID-19. Through GHD/EMPHNET’s powered social media network “EpiShares,” GHD|EMPHNET is raising awareness on various issues relevant to COVID-19. The page “Coronavirus Updates” posts regular updates, while a private group titled “FETP Professionals” serves as a space for FETP directors, advisors, and coordinators to discuss key issues of concern in this regard.

 

Our Experts Are in the Media for COVID-19 Coverage

In interviews and news reports, GHD|EMPHNET’s experts are regularly appearing on numerous international, regional, and national TV channels to convey important messages to viewers on various issues relevant to COVID-19: prevention, current research into vaccines, national policies to contain the pandemic, COVID-19 and mental health, and more. In the press, our experts also contribute articles, focusing on highlighting progress made by the countries and action needed to accelerate this progress.

 

COVID-19 Dashboard Is Now Available on Our Website

Using statistics provided by the Johns Hopkins University, GHD|EMPHNET has created a COVID-19 dashboard that provides updates on number of cases, recoveries, and deaths. While the dashboard provides global data, it also has a special section for EMR countries. To view the dashboard, click here