Red Cross holds course for surgeons in Gaza

Italian doctor says difficult to improve emergency situation

04 September, 17:41

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV-GAZA, SEPTEMBER 4 - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has started a course in recent days in Gaza to train surgeons in treating war-zone wounds from firearms and explosives, led by veteran war surgeon Marco Baldan.

    Baldan told ANSA that with few exceptions, university training doesn't prepare surgeons for war-zone injuries.

    "They don't have specific teaching on how to treat wounds from high-energy bullets and explosions, including those from homemade ordinance that unfortunately is used a lot in modern conflicts," Baldan said.

    "If these wounds are treated as one learns at university, the results can be poor. Infections and other trauma complications, including death, can be consequences. The International Red Cross started to propose this teaching in 1989 in Mogadishu and since then has held more than 300 courses worldwide," he said.

    Baldan has worked extensively in the Gaza Strip and said the situation there has many of the characteristics of a war zone.

    The Gaza Health Ministry has chosen six professors and 13 surgery interns who will take the course and upon completion be able to provide specific assistance in this sector.

    The professors will take over instruction of the course in the coming years.

    Despite this, Baldan said the general situation "remains the one we know".

    "There are considerable difficulties in improving management of emergencies, due to the recurrence of the emergencies themselves, lack of resources, and restrictions on people and goods," Baldan said.

    He also mentioned the generally worsening economic situation, with the main factors "very high unemployment, even higher among young people, and an extensive level of poverty".

    Baldan said this economic situation impacts healthcare, and that "with the meager resources available, some pathologies are difficult to treat".

    The course will be taught by six people: three surgeons, one emergency-medicine specialist, and two local experts - one in physical rehabilitation and another in international law.

    The Gaza Health Ministry has made a space available in Shifa Hospital for the course, which will contain a practical component with practice on mannequins, and has also opened the doors of Shifa Hospital and the European Hospital of Gaza for clinical training on patients.

    "We are convinced that our work will at least help the situation to avoid becoming worse," Baldan said.(ANSAmed).

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