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Switzerland: learning how to treat the war-wounded

25-03-2011 News Release

Geneva (ICRC) – From 25 to 27 March, 43 surgeons and other specialists from around the world will attend a three-day surgical seminar held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Versoix, Switzerland. This is the 22nd such seminar.

“The main objective of the seminar is to expose participants with little or no experience of war-wounded patients to specific aspects of war surgery as practiced by the ICRC,” said Marco Baldan, who specializes in the treatment and management of war wounds. “I’ve just come back from Benghazi, Libya, where we held a similar seminar for 70 local medical experts. It is essential for surgeons and other surgical staff, wherever they work, to know how to treat people wounded during armed violence.”

Drawing on the ICRC’s field experience, the seminar covers specific surgical and anaesthetic techniques, wound management and patient care in dangerous environments, and related aspects of international humanitarian law.

“The seminar is also open to active military surgical personnel interested in gaining an overview of the ICRC’s experience of surgery for the war-wounded,” added Mr Baldan. “In addition to understanding the medical issues involved, it is also very important for health staff to be aware of their right to be protected and respected in armed conflicts and of their duties in connection with this right,” he added.

Participants are invited by Bern University’s Institute of Forensic Medicine to see a demonstration of wounding mechanisms on 24 March. The demonstration will take place in the ballistic laboratory of the inter-cantonal police academy (Intercantonale Polizeischule) in Hitzkirch, Luzern.

For further information, please contact:
Christian Cardon (English, French), ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02