Middle East Regional Meeting
Regional Meeting in Dead Sea, Jordan
Hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Middle East Regional Meeting was held from the 16th to the 19th of May at the Dead Sea focusing on the “Early detection of emerging zoonoses and outbreak investigation”. Thanks to the support and cooperation of the host country, the event successfully gathered experts from the entire spectrum of the One Health disciplines (human virologists, animal virologists, medical entomologists, public health officials, veterinary services officers and geo-spatial modelers) for the first time on site since the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting represented as well the last networking event in this phase of the MediLabSecure project, next phase to start during the summer of 2022.
OBJECTIVES & CONTENT
Organized by the Project’s coordination team from Institut Pasteur with the collaboration of the members of the implementing European consortium and Jordan’s national focal points, this meeting brought together more than 50 participants from the 5 countries of the region: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine as well as a dozen of guests and representatives from all sectors.
The main objective of this Regional Meeting was to reinforce the connections between the network’s experts, and most importantly, to highlight the importance of the implementation of the One health approach for the surveillance and early warning of vector-borne diseases.
Following the feedbacks received after the past online regional meetings – where informal conversations were missing – during this seminar, a special focus was made on case studies, training sessions, and networking.
In line with the suggestions raised by network members in the region, the meeting was mainly focused on Rift Valley Fever with the usual “One Health” spirit that constitutes the roots of the MediLabSecure project.
At the opening ceremony, 3 representatives of the Jordanian government directly implicated in the One Health approach were present : Dr Mohammed Khashashneh, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment; Dr Hussein Alzyod, Director of Animal Wealth Laboratory Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture; and Dr Aymen Magabli, Director of Epidemiology Directorate at the Ministry of Health. Each representative highlighted briefly the importance of the One Health approach with an perspective relative to his ministry, as well as the impact of the MediLabSecure project in their country. Following the opening statements, Nada Essawy, Project Manager (IP) and member of the coordination team, presented the goals and main achievements of the project. Finally, on behalf of the funding body, the Programme Manager at the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risks Centres of Excellence Initiative (CBRN CoE), Anne-Sophie Lequarré, closed the opening by announcing the third phase of the project coming up in July 2022.
The following sessions focused on the One Health approach, in particular on the detection of emerging zoonoses and outbreak investigations in this region.
Presentations given during this meeting are available to download down below
- Opening ceremony and presentation by Dr. Mohammed KHASHASHNEH - Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment
- Presentation by Dr. Hussein ALZYOD – Director of Animal Wealth laboratory directorate
- Last opening speech made by Dr. Aymen MOGABLI – Director of Epidemiology directorate
- Presentation of the MediLabSecure project by Nada ESSAWY and Maud Seguy – Project Manager & Project Supervisor from Institut Pasteur
- Presentation of the EU CBRN CoE intiative by Anne-Sophie Lequarré – EU CBRN
- Keynote Talk and round table on “Middle East One Health approach in early warning & preparedness for zoonoses” by Dr. Alaa Hamdallah and Dr. Rola Galeem - Head of Zoonotic Diseases and Head of Central Public Health Laboratory from the Ministry of Health in Jordan
- Nagoya Protocol applied to MediLabSecure activities by Cindy Dias Vilela - Intellectual Property lawyer from Institut Pasteur
- Elaboration of the MediLabSecure Charter of Value by Vanessa Lagal - Project Manager at Institut Pasteur
- Entomology for non-entomologist training - Dr. Vincent Robert & Dr. Florence Fournet, Medical Entomology Key experts from IRD
- Crisis Communication Overview - Juliette Hardy, Head of International Communications at Institut Pasteur; Alban Orsini, Community Manager as a external consultant and Dr Abeer Mowaswas, Director of Health Communication and Awareness Directorate for the Minstry of Health in Jordan
- Case study : Detection of Emerging Zoonoses and Outbreak Investigations- Dr. Guillain Mikaty, Human Virology key expert at Institut Pasteur and and Dr. Miguel-Angel Jimenez, Animal Virology key expert at INIA
Meeting with your working group
Parallel sessions were organized per work package to exchange on technical subjects and future activities and needs. These sessions allowed the experts from different countries to strengthen their professional relationships. It was also an opportunity to engage discussions on success and challenges that each country is currently facing.
Chapter of value session
All network members were invited to actively participate in the design of the MediLabSecure charter of values. The idea was to encourage and foster the network ownership and sustainability by collaboratively brainstorming on the values, aspirations and commitments that unite the network. The members were seperated, allowing them to come up with more ideas as they worked in groups between expertises and countries from the Middle East.
Keynote and round table: Middle East One Health Approach in early warning & preparedness for zoonoses
As MediLabSecure is a One Health project, a keynote talk with a focus on the Jordanian One Health experience took place. Two points of view were presented: one from a representative of the Ministry of Health and the other from the Central Public Health Laboratory. The talk was followed by a roundtable of representatives of all participating countries sharing their feedbacks on their One Health experience, with a focus on early warning and preparedness for zoonoses
Nagoya Protocol applied to MediLabSecure activities
During this session, the Nagoya Protocol ground principles were detailed followed by an overview of the implementation of such protocol in each country represented. Practical cases focusing on the impact of the Nagoya Protocol on surveillance activities were presented, particularly on the collection, use and distribution of samples.
Entomology for Non-Entomologist Training
Training on basic medical and veterinary entomology was available to MediLabSecure members who do not have entomology background. Through both theoretical and practical approaches, this training achieved an understanding of insects in general and vectors in particular: what they are, what makes a vector, what are their constraints and their comfort range, how they interact with other species and humans, how entomologists manage with such enormous biodiversity, how to identify insect species, how to perform a relevant sampling, why so many trapping systems and to deal with invasive species.
Crisis Communication Overview
Health outbreaks tend to be accompanied by a wave of solicitations from the media to scientists and public health officials looking for answers to their questions, as well as by an active circulation of fake news. Preparedness to an epidemic also means being ready to communicate during a crisis. This « Crisis Communication Overview» session focused on communication during a crisis and how to manage it, with the Covid-19 communication experience of Jordan.
Case Study: Detection Of Emerging Zoonoses And Oubreak Investigations
In order to better respond to an outbreak, a case study has been designed to improve collaborations between the different expertise. The goal was to make sure that the different countries of the same region would implement a One Health approach when responding to a crisis.
After more than 2 years in lockdown and digital meetings, it was time to celebrate the come-back to on-site meetings and activities with a well-deserved cocktail on the premises of the hotel with a delightful view on the Dead Sea. The great infrastructure and history of the hosting country Jordan, made this meeting unique and memorable.