Epidemic-prone diseases, including emerging and re-emerging diseases constitute the greatest threat to public health security in Eastern Mediterranean Region.
In the past 20 years, the Region has witnessed a marked increase in the number of outbreaks and pandemics caused by emerging and re-emerging diseases, such as Alkhurma haemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, cholera, dengue, A/H5N1 influenza, pandemic A/H1N1 (2009) and Rift Valley fever, among others. This situation has been exacerbated by acute and chronic humanitarian crisis in many countries of the Region.
The communicable disease surveillance, forecasting and response programme provides technical support to countries of the Region to strengthen their capacities to early detect and adequately respond to threats of outbreaks and pandemics. The programme also coordinates regional and international responses to such outbreaks.
Challenges facing countries in the Region include:
insufficient allocation of funds to build adequate resources for surveillance and response to major public health events
political instability, man-made and natural disasters
weak health systems and inadequate health services.