This report presents the findings of a quick-turn study conducted between February 2021 and May 2021. During this time frame, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had resulted in 83 million confirmed infections and more than 1.8 million deaths worldwide. In the Middle East, there were close to 21 million cases reported and 336,000 COVID-19 deaths. Many countries in the Middle East struggled with health care capacity and access prior to the pandemic, and this crisis has placed significant additional strain on health care delivery in the region. Evaluating strategies used by health care systems and public health and policies implemented by governments in the Middle East during the ongoing pandemic is critical to understanding and disseminating successful approaches to meeting the health care demands of populations in the region.
This report outlines the results of an exploratory analysis of five Middle East countries — Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, and Tunisia. Drawing from a literature review and qualitative data collected from focus groups and one-on-one interviews conducted between March 2021 and May 2021, the authors identify common challenges regarding COVID-19 faced by the countries studied, highlight successes and innovations in addressing these challenges, and recommend strategies for strengthening internal infrastructure and regional cooperation between countries. This work should be of interest to regional and international stakeholders as they continue to combat the pandemic, and its findings could inform future research around pandemic response.
Author(s): Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Nasma Berri, Emily Hoch, Nazia Wolters, Kristin J. Leuschner, Mahshid Abir