Background: This article aims at providing an overview of the current epidemiological situation in the heterogeneous Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). It is one in a series of eight articles appointed by the International Epidemiological Association to improve the epidemiological situation.
Methods: Several resources were used to extract morbidity, mortality and risk factors data that contribute mostly to the burden of disease and highlight health inequalities. Medline search was used to estimate epidemiological publications output by country. Indexing status of Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean (IMEMR) journals in Medline/PubMed was checked. A questionnaire was designed to collect data from epidemiological associations on type of work and workforce. Authors' knowledge and networks were used to get a perspective on the training, research and funding sources.
Results: Large inequalities exist between EMR nations especially ones pertaining to social conflicts. The EMR age-standardized disability-adjusted life years rate per 1000 population is higher than the global one, with most contribution of communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries (45%) and non-communicable diseases in high-income countries (64%). Iran and Pakistan have the highest number of publications from 1996-2012, but Kuwait has the highest rate of publications per 100,000 population. The majority of IMEMR journals are not indexed in Medline/PubMed. Masters in Public Health is the most common form of training.
Conclusions: Efforts are required to ameliorate the epidemiological situation. There is a dire need for health evidence-based policy change and for field training of epidemiologists.