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Haitian hospitals host ICRC medical seminars

14-05-2004 News Release 04/64

The ICRC has organized a series of seminars for medical staff of various hospitals in Haiti.

The focus of the seminars is on war surgery techniques, triage procedures and the basic provisions of international humanitarian law, particularly those affording protection to medical personnel, facilities and patients.

An initial seminar was held on 7 May at Le Justinien Hospital in Cap-Haitien, the country's second largest city. It was attended by 42 doctors, surgeons, nurses and interns. Another seminar was held on 10 May for 50 medical staff at the University Hospital of Haiti, the country's largest public hospital, located in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Dr Hassan Nasreddine, the ICRC surgeon who organized the seminars, said they provided an opportunity for exchanging experiences with Haitian colleagues and sharing ICRC expertise in the field of war surgery, with a special focus on the treatment of gunshot and stab wounds.

Dr Nasreddine added that Haitian hospital authorities were particularly interested in triage procedures. " They want to improve their capacity to deal with the sudden arrival of a large number of patients, " he explained. " This will help them cope in the event of new eruptions of violence in the country, major accidents or natural disasters. "

The ICRC presentation on international humanitarian law and the protective nature of the red cross emblem had practical implications for the seminar participants. During the violence that shook the country at the beginning of the year, hospitals were subjected to armed incursions on several occasions and medical staff were sometimes threatened at gunpoint.

Two similar seminars were held in April at hospitals in Gonaïves and Port-de-Paix. Further seminars on war surgery and medical ethics will be held in June by the ICRC together with the Haitian Ministry of Health.

    

 For further information, please contact:  

 Bernard Barrett, ICRC Haiti, tel.: +509 257 7143 / 256 7824 / 525 6268  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel.: +4122 730 2458