Challenges to the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar

Challenges to the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar

On 2nd April 2020, CORDS network member the Middle Eastern Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS) led a webinar to consider the ‘Challenges to the COVID-19 Pandemic’ in partnership with Ending Pandemics, the University of Tel Aviv and the University of San Francisco. MECIDS is a trilateral, non-official organization that was formed in 2002 by leading public health officials and academics from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority Since its inception it’s been a source of expertise for cross-border collaboration and continues to act to use the knowledge and skills of its members to respond to the current COVID-19 threat.

The webinar was attended virtually by 278 participants from over 23 countries, who listened to a panel of infectious diseases experts present on MECIDS as a platform to address emerging infectious diseases, the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid response in diagnostics/detection- laboratory preparedness, and the non-medical burden of the pandemic.

The expert panellists included:

  • Prof. Daniel Cohen, Chair of MECIDS and acting head of School of Public Health, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Dr. Sami Sheikh Ali, The Communicable Diseases Directorate, Ministry of Health, Jordan
  • Prof. Ziad Abdeen, Al Quds University, East Jerusalem
  • Dr. Yaniv Lustig, PhD (The Central Virology Laboratory, MOH, Israel)
  • Dr. Dorit Nitzan, Coordinator of Health Emergencies at World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Dr. Silvia Bino, Southeast European Center for Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases South (SECID)
  • Prof. Manfred Green, School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Israel

The webinar finished with a Q&A session. Questions included ‘how far are we from a vaccine?’, ‘can the differences in health care systems explain the differences in fatalities between countries?’, ‘what is the role of communications in a pandemic?’ and ‘how do we manage cultural aspects related to public adherence to government instructions?’.

Overall feedback was excellent. Participants reported that they appreciated the opportunity to converge and share during a time of crisis and that the webinar had increased their knowledge and learning and would be useful to them and their organizations.

Listen to the webinar here