In 2012, the Gulf experienced an epidemic of the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which is similar in genetic structure to COVID-19, as a fellow coronavirus. After the rapid spread of MERS, countries in the Gulf sought to improve their response to zoonotic pathogens to prevent future pandemics. Integral Global Consulting (IGC) is currently collaborating with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) to implement One Health workforce capacity building trainings in the Middle East.
BTRP is the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)’s premier biological nonproliferation division protecting the U.S. and its allies from biological threats. To minimize the threat of deliberate, accidental, and natural infectious disease outbreaks, DTRA collaborates with partner countries and the international community to implement enhanced biosafety, biosecurity, and biosurveillance measures. In 2017, BTRP began implementing One Health-related trainings and workshops in the CENTCOM region that promote multi-sectoral coordination within BTRP partner countries to better mitigate biological threats.
IGC has been contracted to increase workforce capacity in six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates) and continue previously implemented work in Jordan. IGC is on track to complete a One Health training in each GCC member state. After all six trainings are complete, IGC will conduct a forum to establish routine dialogue between each country and their ministries of environment, agriculture, and health to prevent future cross-border biological threat.
In addition, IGC will host an annual training in Jordan with the objective of improving national response to zoonotic pathogens by strengthening coordination between Jordan’s ministries of environment, agriculture, and health. IGC works closely with implementing partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Energy Sandia National Laboratories (DOE/SNL) to complete this work.