Faculty of Medicine/YU:

With our masks on; Face to face with COVID-19

 

Alarming gap COVID 19

 

 

In the last two months of the year 2019 , TV and radio stations, news agencies, newspapers and social media started broadcasting and publishing reports about a new Corona virus, fearing its spread all over the world. The impact of this virus was not completely understood at that time. In Faculty of Medicine / YU these news have not passed unnoticed. At the very early time of hearing the echoes of these news we measured them in the scale of science. We started dealing with the virus before the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Jordan, even before it was named as COVID-19 by WHO on February 11th, 2020,.

In this article we'll emphasize the hard and planned work we 've done to face this unwelcome guest which imposes itself on the whole world with no borders to stop it. 

The Faculty of Medicine adapted its action according to the variant and ascending nature of this pandemic. We don't claim we've expected everything or that we were ready to handle the virus outbreak, as no single country survived its unhappy surprises. But we claim we were open minded and flexible enough to deal with every expected or unexpected stage during the pandemic. We tried our best to learn from the experiences of the international institutions that faced the problem ahead of us and we tailored these experiences to our special circumstances. Multiple plans were prepared in advance for every possible event that could affect the mission of the faculty either the teaching process, the administrative process, the research work or the community and university service. 

The hard work during this pandemic was focused on many axes

1) The awareness campaign about the virus and its prevention

2) The organizational work with the university administration and other faculties to deal with the pandemic

3) The  actions and reactions to proceed with the teaching-learning process. 

4) The research work related to this health and social hazard

5) Dealing with all negative effects resulted from this pandemic

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1) The awareness campaign about the virus and its prevention:

Maybe this was the first action the faculty started with when we heard the news about this new virus.

Before the first case of COVID 19 was detected in Jordan, our teaching faculty members started giving lectures, sharing in seminars not only in Irbid ( the city of Yarmouk University) but in the whole country. They started to appear in interviews in the public media to let the people of Jordan be aware of what this virus is about, to contradict the conspiracy theories that unfortunately arises with every new threat and to teach the people what to do in case this virus reached us. and when it did, this campaign didn't stop even it escalated to give the people the scientific knowledge enough for the public to fight this pandemic as it was labelled by WHO as  a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11th, 2020. 

Before the lockdown was set by the government of Jordan in March 2020, many lectures and seminars were held by our professors from the Basic Medical Sciences department and Clinical Medical Sciences department inside the university to spread the message about Corona Virus in the university community. Many volunteer work workshops were held by the students in the malls and the public gatherings to educate the people with the safety mesures they should follow to counteract the emergence of the virus if it reached Jordan. After what all feared happened, the general lockdown was announced.

After the lockdown, many of our doctors were involved in many phone and Skype interviews in different means of media to educate people about their health. They are still doing this to convince the public to take the vaccines that the government is trying its best to provide everyone living in Jordan with, This step is necessary in order to reach the herd immunity every country in the world is aiming to reach. 

 

2) The organizational work with the university administration and other faculties to deal with the pandemic

Yarmouk University hastened to take actions to deal with the health status of its personnel ( students, employees and teachers). It formed the 'COVID-19 epidemeological committee' in which three of our clinical staff are active members in this committee ( Dr. Muntaser AlOmari, Dr. Mohammad AlZubi and Dr. Sahem Gharaibeh) . They are in the COVID-19 hot line in the university, any one who was infected with the virus, suspected to be infected, or been in contact with a COVID-19 patient or with a patient with similar symptoms can contact them directly to know what is the best next step for his case. These committee advices are aligned with the recommendations of the national epidemological committee in Ministry of Health , which in turn takes the WHO recommendations as a trusted source.  

The Faculty of Medicine accepted tens of our students from the clinical years (4th , 5th and 6th) as volunteers to learn how to give the vaccine in response to a special command from Ministry of Health to cope with the national requirements to vaccinate at least 70% if not the whole population that live in Jordan ; either if they are citizens, visitors or refugees. They'll be qualified after a training course to start this job soon; hand by hand with medical personnel as fellow soldiers in the white army. 

The Faculty cooperated with the vaccination campaign held by the university according to the arrangement between Ministry of Health and Ministry of High education and scientific research that aims to vaccinate everyone inside universities and community faculties for the sake of a safe return to classical teaching. Faculties of Medicine in Jordan , especially the students and staff in the clinical years were given the priority in this campaign. Our students vaccination was on May 29th and 30th, 2021 inside the university campus.

 

3)  The actions and reactions to proceed with the teaching-learning process. 

The teaching-learning process in faculties of medicine has its own special characters as our students not only learn inside the teaching halls or university labs, but also the students in the clinical years get their training in the hospitals and health centers. This imposes different challenges on the teaching-learning process.

At the start of the lockdown and with the urgent orders from the government to switch the face to face teaching process into online learning, the Faculty responded with the IT department in the university to provide both the teachers and the students the online platforms that provide the maximum simulation of benifits that the students get from the classical way of learning.  The teachers even used their own social media accounts like YouTube channels to give an extra platform to their students. The IT department held many workshops for our teaching staff to improve their technicial qualitifications. 

The clinical training was the most difficult to compensate because inspite of the possibility of providing the clinical knowledge by simulated clinical case discussions, but the interaction between the student and patients, patients' relatives, medical personnel and paramedics is difficult to gain online.  Thus we tried to compensate this point by the experience of our doctors and by compensation times that were given to the students in the periods of opening the public life in between the lockdown periods. In such opening periods, the in-hospital training was resumed. We understand that the time of clinical compensation was short and maybe insufficient but we have another goal. We intend to call our graduates -who had less exposure to patients during lockdown times- to clinical courses during their internship. This will be with collaboration with ministry of health and the health bodies in Jordan dealing with interns. 

 

 

4) The research work related to this health and social hazard

 Our teaching staff and students were encouraged to get the maximum benifit of staying at home to do researches. There were many researches related to COVID-19 in both Basic and Clinical departements. some discussed the theory, some tackled the clinical aspects of COVID 19 and many focused on the effect of pandemic or the online way of learning on the teaching-learning outcomes, this aspect was covered by doctors from both the basic and clinical departments as well as our students.

Many of these researches were published in indexed scientific journals. COVID related researches are still part of our faculty's researches and for sure it will be in the near and far future

 

 

5) Dealing with all negative effects of the pandemic

The pandemic has bad infleunces on many aspects of our lives as persons and as a community. We are dealing with the psycological consequences of the life losses among the families and friends of our students , faculty staff and administrative staff and the hardships of having a relative or friend suffering COVID-19 complications.

The psycological effects go beyond the effects of losing loved ones and dealing with the patients to the negative effect of staying at home for a long period. The adaptation to both situations; (i.e. the isolation during lockdown and the return to campus when the lockdown is off) is necessary for their normal psycological health.

Another concern we are dealing with is the first appearance of a number of our students in the campus.  Students who joined the faculty just before COVID started or during COVID pandemic spent most of their study time at home minimizing their university life experiences which could affect their performance when they join the in-campus studies when the time is due. The discrepancy between their academic level and their in-campus social level has to be dealt with.

The clinical years students as mentioned before were and will be given compensatory courses to let them live the true clinical life, feel the environment of their place of work later and get the exposure to various clinical situations in the different departemnts of the hospital, We believe this will increase their self esteem and confidence to practice medicine when they start their profession.

Some delay with the administrative issues happened first due to the decrease work time for the administrative personnel as per the governmental decisions to decrease the capacity of the departments and offices and ensure the social distancing. This partly was solved by distant online work. Another solution was by the distribution of the personnel to the offices where most of the busy paper work is needed. These solutions are especially needed around the time of graduation, when all the graduates need their papers done before starting their internship year.

 

The pandemic was hard on every country, every health institution and every school in the world. We are still learning about how we face COVID 19  though we got lots of experience in the last year and a half. Our hope is to control the infection rate, to set the number of fatalties to Zero and to cure the patients with complications. then to return back to our normal lives with more understanding and care about the health of everyone of us, of the society as a whole and of the people on our beautiful planet.

 
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