Global Preparedness Work in Jordan

“Disease outbreaks are inevitable and cannot always be predicted. But if systems are in place to detect an outbreak in time, and if there is an appropriate rapid response, these dangerous pathogens can be contained and controlled at the source.”

— Rebecca Martin, PhD
Director, Center for Global Health

DGHP’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch’s Global Response Preparedness Team (GRPT) is helping Jordan build sustainable capacity to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Through two separate, partner-based capacity building programs, GRPT is making a difference in emergency preparedness and response in Jordan.

(1) Biosecurity Engagement Program Capacity Building Project

Supported by U.S. State Department’s Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), GRPT is working in partnership with the Jordanian Ministry of Health to develop a public health Emergency Operations Center (EOC). A key component of global health security, an EOC brings together decision makers to analyze, validate, and efficiently exchange information during a public health emergency and coordinate with emergency response partners.

GRPT’s role includes equipping and constructing the EOC, training Ministry of Health staff, and participating in the development of an EOC strategic plan, emergency operations plan, and standard operating procedures. In early 2017, GRPT plans to lead a meeting to discuss a simulated emergency situation for the Jordanian Ministry of Health EOC in which their plans will be put to the test.

(2) Defense Threat Reduction Agency Capacity Building Project

GRPT is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to build Jordan’s emergency response capacity at the national level. Representatives from cross-cutting fields, including various ministries and the Jordanian Armed Forces, work together on health-focused trainings and exercises to learn about coordinated responses during emergencies. In 2016, GRPT and DTRA worked closely to facilitate Incident Command System (ICS) 300 and 400 level courses with participants from across the Jordanian government. By using case studies and exercises based on potential public health emergencies, the participants were able to see how their ministry or agency could potentially be involved in the ICS, and how public health emergencies affected not just the Ministry of Health.

In September 2016, DTRA and GRPT hosted officials from the Jordanian Armed Forces and government ministries, including the Ministry of Health, in Washington D.C. to participate in a tabletop exercise to test their emergency plans and procedures, as well as to see a functioning EOC. GRPT observed and evaluated the tabletop exercise, providing an “after action report” with key recommendations to improve their emergency response operations.

Enhancing the capacity of the Jordanian Ministry of Health to rapidly detect and respond to public health emergencies, and to manage their public health response through with an EOC, will help control public health emergencies in Jordan at their source, and support global health security efforts. A safer, more secure Jordan means a safer, more secure world.