Behind the Jordanian COVID-19 National Response Plan

Nurse Raja Abu Trabeh. Photo: IOM

Amman - Nurse Raja Abu Trabeh had 30 years of work experience with the Infection Prevention and Control in Jordan. In the beginning of corona virus outbreak, she together with nurse Sultan was seconded by IOM to the Jordanian Ministry of Health (MoH) team to support in developing a COVID-19 National Response Plan. They were one of the first responders to the pandemic in Jordan.

“Where do you begin, when you have to find the solution to the global pandemic that you didn’t had much information about?” Raja asked herself. “Information was crucial! So, we started by researching about the virus, consulting with our partners and assessing capacities of our health facilities in order to design a plan that will reduce spread of the virus.” Raja explains. “You have to understand that it was a learning process that required time. Lockdowns were the most logical way to start with. They minimized the spreading of the virus while we were simultaneously learning more about it and increasing our capacities to respond to the challenges.”

Mrs. Raja continued: “UN agencies played an important role in providing latest information regarding the virus, but also logistic support when the demands increased”. IOM’s logistical support to MoH included distribution of PPE’s, donation of laptops and tablets for data collecting of infected patients as well as a system for conducting rapid tests.

The Deputy of Secretary General for Primary Health Care Dr. Ghazi Sharkas: “The immediate action that one country should undertake to prevent the virus from entering, it is to close all the points of entry (PoE) and build the capacity to respond to the virus. In that case, IOM played an important role in supporting us with the assessment of all the PoE’s, enhancement of the border capacities and taking subsequent action to keep the borders under control.”

With the vaccination rollout, the government decided to include everyone who are residing in the country, making Jordan the first country to provide vaccines to refugees, migrants and other foreign nationals along with the Jordanians.

Dr. Ghazi continued: “Now, one of the main challenges we face is the time. To get the vaccines on time and distribute them on time. Our systems are under pressure to procure the vaccines and make them available to everyone in the country, including refugees and migrants. We welcome the efforts of the international community in supporting Jordan to facilitate the distribution of vaccines.”

IOM provided MoH with several cars which are being used for COVID-19 vaccination. In the same time, IOM medical team distributed essential medicine to Syrian refugees and Jordanians who are residing in remote areas. They also visited TB patients to make sure they continue their treatments despite the lockdowns and movement restrictions.

Nurse Raja expressed her hope for the upcoming times. “Great number of people are receiving the vaccines and inshallah by the end of the year the situation will get close to normal”. But then she remained the importance to adhering to the preventive measures.” Over the past year we have witnessed a rapid change in people’s behavior, where keeping the distance, washing hands and wearing masks became the norm, and it is important to keep it up”.


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