The forgotten sub-regional COVID-19 response layer. The case of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region


  • Osama Ali Maher Division of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • Mohamed Abdalla Elamein Boshara PHD student at Multimedia University – Knowledge Management Centre, Malaysia
  • Giuseppe Pichierri Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Microbiology Unit, Kingston Upon Thames, United Kingdom
  • Luca Cegolon Local Health Unit N. 2 “Marca Trevigiana”, Public Health Department, Treviso, Italy
  • Catello Mario Panu Napodano Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical, Surgical and Experimental Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy
  • Paola Murgia Intensive Care Unit, "SS Annunziata" Hospital, Sassari, Italy
  • Saverio Bellizzi Medical Epidemiologist, Independent consultant, Geneva, Switzerland



Emergency response, epidemics, sub-regional


The response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been driven by epidemiology, health system characteristics and control measures in form of social/physical distancing. Guidance, information and best practices have been characterized by territorial thinking with concentration on national health system and social contexts. Information was to a large extent provided from global entities such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others. This bipolar response mechanism came to the detriment of regional and sub-regional levels. The development of the global pandemic was evaluated in terms of the performance of single countries without trying to reflect on possible regional or sub-regional results of similar characteristics in health system and social contexts. To have a clearer view of the issue of sub-regional similarities, we examined the WHO, Eastern Mediterranean Region. When examining the development of confirmed cases for countries in the region, we identified four different sub-groups similar in the development of the pandemic and the social distancing measure implemented. Despite the complicated situation, these groups gave space for thinking outside the box of traditional outbreaks or pandemic response. We think that this sub-regional approach could be very effective in addressing more characteristics and not geographically based analysis. Furthermore, this can be an area of additional conceptual approaches, modelling and concrete platforms for information and lessons learned exchange.


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How to Cite

Ali Maher O, Elamein Boshara MA, Pichierri G, Cegolon L, Panu Napodano CM, Murgia P, Bellizzi S (2021) The forgotten sub-regional COVID-19 response layer. The case of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. J Infect Dev Ctries 15:478–479. doi: 10.3855/jidc.14057



Coronavirus Pandemic

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