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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 83-85

Corona virus disease 2019 pandemic: Ensuring capacity building and outbreak readiness in Iraq


1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit, Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission03-Apr-2020
Date of Decision13-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance19-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth - Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_14_20

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  Abstract 


The battle against coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is on and each and every nation is trying out to minimize the impact of the disease in their settings. In the Eastern Mediterranean region, a total of 20 nations has reported cases, of which Iraq has reported 728 cases and 52 deaths. It is worth remembering that Iraq has been exposed to multiple challenges in the recent few years, including experiencing internal conflicts or massive displacement of the human population in the nation. All these factors together significantly enhance the probability of the emergence of a major outbreak in the nation, which might go beyond the capacity of the nation to contain, if we do not act now and that too fast. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand in most of the affected nations, and the same has been anticipated for Iraq as well in the coming weeks. Thus, the national leaders and supporting agencies have to prepare the health system of the nation for the upcoming battle and reduce the caseload and the probability of disease transmission.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, Iraq, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona virus disease 2019 pandemic: Ensuring capacity building and outbreak readiness in Iraq. Environ Dis 2020;5:83-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona virus disease 2019 pandemic: Ensuring capacity building and outbreak readiness in Iraq. Environ Dis [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 May 28];5:83-5. Available from: http://www.environmentmed.org/text.asp?2020/5/3/83/296803




  Introduction Top


The battle against coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is on and each and every nation is trying out to minimize the impact of the disease in their settings. However, the global caseload continues to rise and it has reached 20,439,814 cases, as on August 13, 2020, of which 276,398 cases were reported in a single day.[1] At the same time, the disease has also accounted for the deaths of 744,385 individuals across the 216 nations and territories which have reported cases since the first case of the disease was reported in Wuhan city. The Eastern Mediterranean region has altogether reported 1,683,511 cases (8.2% of the global share) and 44,661 deaths (16.1% of the reported deaths worldwide) till date.[1] In the region, a total of 21 nations has reported cases, of which Iran (19.8% cases and 42.5% deaths) leads the way followed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.[1]


  Coronavirus Disease-2019 in Iraq and the Potential Challenges Top


Till date, Iraq has reported 160,436 cases and 5,588 deaths, which even though is less in comparison to the entire region, the bottom line is that none of the nations can relax as any irregularity on our part is good enough for the disease to spread in an exponential manner.[1] It is worth remembering that Iraq has been exposed to multiple challenges in the recent few years, including experiencing internal conflicts or massive displacement of the human population in the nation.[2] It is quite obvious that the citizens of the nation have been through a lot during recent times, but then even the health care delivery system has got its share and is quite weak. Moreover, a major section of the population is exposed to poor housing (poor ventilation) and other basic welfare services (such as access to improved water supply and sanitation facilities). All these factors together significantly enhance the probability of the emergence of a major outbreak in the nation, which might go beyond the capacity of the nation to contain, if we do not act now and that too fast.[2]


  Role of Medical Tools Top


The effective containment of the outbreak is extensively dependent on the correct and appropriate use of medical tools (namely, personal protective equipment, face masks, etc.,) as they play a significant role in not only preventing the acquisition of infection but also in reducing the onward transmission of the infection. The findings of studies have reported that the use of a face mask brought about a significant reduction in the incidence of the COVID-19 infection.[3],[4] The same stands true regardless of the settings and it has been advocated by the public health authorities.


  Proposed Public Health Interventions in Iraq Top


To improve the outbreak readiness and emergency response, a series of training sessions have been organized for the different cadre of workers with an aim to enhance their understanding about the disease and what all needs to be done from the perspective of different stakeholders to collectively put up a better show.[5] This essentially also included assessment of the resources in the nation and the areas which require urgent improvement.[5] However, considering the course of the disease in Iran, a lot of apprehensions and fear are there among both healthcare professionals and the community, as the pilgrimage and religious travels are quite common.[1],[6]

The reports of COVID-19 cases through travelers have emerged and thus there is a definite need to plan and implement all the prevention measures.[7] This essentially calls for the need to strengthen the international health regulations, better screening activities at various points of entries, the need to make people aware about delaying unnecessary travel, and prioritize the vulnerable population groups living in camps as refugees.[4],[8] In addition, efforts have been taken to strengthen the national surveillance activities, train the health staff about the definition of a suspect, and a confirmed case and also risk communication mechanism.[8]

Furthermore, the multiple numbers of mobile teams were deployed in the region, which took the charge of creating awareness about the disease among the general population, hard-to-reach areas, religious places, and border areas.[2] Further, steps have been taken to improve the diagnostic capacity in the nation and also to ensure that adequate infrastructure is available to offer treatment of the diagnosed cases.[1],[8] Moreover, steps have been also taken to improve infection prevention and control measures, and this encompasses the supply of personal protective equipment from the international welfare agencies to strengthen the overall process of outbreak readiness.[2],[5]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand in most of the affected nations, and the same has been anticipated for Iraq as well in the coming weeks. Thus, the national leaders and supporting agencies have to prepare the health system of the nation for the upcoming battle and reduce the caseload and the probability of disease transmission.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 206; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200813-covid-19-sitrep-206.pdf?sfvrsn=bf38f66b_6. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 14].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. The Fight to Contain COVID-19 in Iraq; 2020. Available from: http://www.emro.who.int/irq/iraq-news/the-fight-to-contain-covid-19-in-iraq.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 14].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Cheng VC, Wong SC, Chuang VW, So SY, Chen JH, Sridhar S, et al. The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2. J Infect 2020;81:107-14.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
MacIntyre CR, Hasanain SJ. Community universal face mask use during the COVID 19 pandemic-from households to travellers and public spaces. J Travel Med 2020;27:taaa056.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Al Nsour M, Bashier H, Al Serouri A, Malik E, Khader Y, Saeed K, et al. The role of the Global Health Development/Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network and the Eastern Mediterranean field epidemiology training programs in preparedness for COVID-19. JMIR Public Health Surveill 2020;6:e18503.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Minimizing the risk of international spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak by targeting travelers. J Acute Dis 2020;9:47-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
  [Full text]  
7.
Al-Malkey MK, Al-Sammak MA. Incidence of the COVID-19 in Iraq – Implications for travellers. Travel Med Infect Dis 2020;101739. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101739. Online ahead of print.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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