MECIDS webinar: Challenges facing the COVID-19 pandemic

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