Strengthening Jordan’s Response to COVID-19 Increasing the Preparedness of the Health Care System to Manage and Treat COVID-19 Patients
When the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world in early 2020, Jordan took rapid and strong measures to successfully contain the number of cases in the country.
However, Jordan started facing a surge in the number of cases beginning in mid-September, with the cumulative number of confirmed cases rising from 2,097 on September 1 to 174,335 on November 20, and an alarming rise in the number of deaths. How could health workers be protected against the escalating infection risks from this surge in cases?
“With the exception of the 2012 MERS outbreak, Jordan has a stable environment when it comes to infectious diseases. This doesn’t mean that the public lacks appropriate knowledge in fighting these diseases, especially regarding hand washing or maintaining safe distances. However, the country hasn’t faced many respiratory infection outbreaks. As a result, some of the biggest gaps relate to the use of personal protective equipment [PPE]. We want to ensure that health care workers have the knowledge to use PPE in an optimal way,” says Dr. Ruba Haddadin, the country project lead for the USAID Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services program in Jordan.
The country’s main challenge was the limited number of health care workers trained to deal with highly infectious patients.
Ms. Samira Badr (right), nursing manager at Abdel-Hadi Hospital, and Mahmoud Ibrahim, IPC unit head. Photo credit: Ruba Haddadin
To respond to the pandemic, USAID supported Jordan’s Ministry of Health by conducting a series of COVID-19 training workshops on infection prevention and control (IPC) in hospitals around the country. Training focused on raising the preparedness of hospitals to manage and treat COVID-19 patients and improving their IPC practices to reduce transmission of the virus to health care workers, patients, and visitors. The increased hospital capacity will help reduce the burden of COVID-19 and protect health care workers so the population can continue to receive high-quality health care services despite the pandemic.
The training included guidance on the optimal use of PPE according to international recommendations, including a demonstration of how to correctly put on and remove PPE.
Following the training, participants were assessed on the training material, in particular identifying appropriate PPE for certain scenarios based on a risk assessment. To assess health care workers’ competencies, two tests were performed by staff, one before the training and one after to measure the knowledge improvement. On average, the assessments showed a 114% improvement rate compared to the pre-training assessment.
To date, the USAID team has trained 1,317 health care workers (56 % female) in 36 hospitals countrywide (12 Ministry of Health and university hospitals, 18 private hospitals, and 6 Royal Medical Service hospitals).
Hospital staff felt empowered by the training provided by USAID. At Al-Israa’ Hospital, Ms. Zainab Ghafari, head of the infection prevention unit, shares, “All the attendees confirmed that it added a lot to their knowledge. The information provided was very clear and will help the staff deal with all the expected scenarios. We requested the USAID team to conduct another workshop at our hospital according to our need and staff requests.”
“We are very grateful to USAID MTaPS for organizing this training workshop. It gave the staff the knowledge, skills and most importantly, confidence to treat COVID-19 patients, especially when new cases came to the ER.”
– Ms. Samira Badr, nursing manager at Abdel-Hadi Hospital
Ms. Lana Fawzi, head of the infection prevention unit at Jordan Hospital and a recipient of COVID-19 IPC training. Photo credit: Ruba Haddadin