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Nigeria: helping surgeons to enhance their skills

24-01-2012 News Release 12/14

Abuja (ICRC) – More than 30 surgeons from various hospitals in Nigeria have gathered in Abuja to attend a seminar organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that will focus on surgical techniques for treating people injured by weapons.

Two ICRC surgeons with extensive experience operating on weapon-wounded patients all over the world will lead the seminar during the next three days.

"Not only can the impact of bullets and bomb blasts leave a victim with multiple injuries, but the wounds can also be highly contaminated," said ICRC surgeon Dr Mauro Dalla Torre. "When the pressure wave generated by blasts increases the severity of the wounds, specialized skills are required to treat the patients."

The seminar will make use of videos showing real-life situations involving casualties as well as the sharing of experiences and best practices. The participants are from hospitals in the states of Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe, and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) that regularly admit injured patients.

Mamadou Sow, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria, declared at the opening ceremony that "we want to strengthen the health-care facilities' capacity to cope with sudden and large influxes of wounded people. In addition to providing training, we make available medical supplies, such as dressing materials and intravenous fluids, and in some cases specialist personnel to hospitals that receive mass casualties as a result of violence."

The surgeons attending the seminar will also participate in a discussion on how to ensure that access to health care is maintained in times of danger. The safety of medical personnel and the impartiality of care are expected to be among the issues raised.

The ICRC has organized over 160 war-surgery seminars in various countries since 1989. The seminar in Abuja will be the first to take place in Nigeria.

For further information, please contact:
Rafiullah Qureshi, ICRC Abuja, tel: +234 9 461 96 13 or +234 703 595 41 68