The Third International Congress on Health Medication and Crisis Management in Natural Disasters: a report
Subgroup: Volume 9, Issue 2
Date: April 2007
Type: Letter to Editor
Start Page: 109
End Page: 110
The Third International Congress on Health, Medication and Crisis Management in Natural Disasters, organized by Iran's Basij Medical Society, was held at Razi International Conference Center, Tehran, Iran on 12-14 December 2006. The following is a brief report of the Congress and the issues discussed.
Dr. Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, the honorable Minister of Health, Treatment and Medical Education in his inaugural address, stated that around 100,000 Iranian lives have been lost due to natural disasters in the last decade.
While stressing on the preparedness for natural disasters, Dr. Lankarani mentioned that fortunately the country's readiness had been improved as judged by much lower casualties incurred by the quake in Lorestan province relative to that in the city of Bam.
The objectives of the Congress were as follows:
1. Institutionalization of crisis management and establishment of a unitary managing center for natural disasters, 2. Determination of the areas of management in the face of crisis, 3. Coordination among various areas of crisis management, 4. Improvement of crisis management on theoretical and practical grounds, 5. Determination and prevention of the loses of natural disasters, 6.Transfer of the practical experiences in crisis management along with critics’ approaches to critical management.
The congress constituted 348 contributions comprising 97 oral and 251 poster presentations in 4 areas of Help and Rescue, Health in Natural Disaster, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Treatment of the Injured in Disasters and Management of Natural Disasters (Table 1).
Presentations on help and rescue did emphasize the role of public education and awareness about the disasters occurring in various geographic areas. Presentations on health in natural disaster dealt with the importance of observing public hygiene in disaster areas and provisions for public health training. Psychological and physical problems in disaster regions and the ways to rehabilitate them back into normal life were the focus of presentations in the area of physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Presentations on the treatment of injured in disasters focused on treating and handling various form of injuries including burns, fracture and wounds. Various approaches to organize and train healthrelated personnel of universities of medical sciences and health care services were the focus of presentations on the management of disasters.
In addition to oral and poster presentations, the Congress also included 21 plenary lectures and panel discussions. The majority of such transactions dealt with management of crisis, particularly the infrastructure and institutions required for tackling natural disasters. Some of the activities focused on highlighting the shortcomings of the present institutions and approaches, and emphasized the need for training health care personnel from universities of medical sciences and health care services in pre-, during and post-disaster services. They also suggested the importance of organization and coordination of the efficacy of such services.
Two of the lectures discussed the role of Islamic culture and spirituality in coping with the aftermaths of disaster. The lecturers suggested and emphasized that the education of Islamic values relying upon Allah almighty would help people cope and recover from the sufferings incurred in disasters. Another plenary lecture discussed the outbreak of bird flu as a natural disaster, and presented approaches to raise public awareness about the disease and to prevent its outbreak. One of the panels stressed the importance of practical training for achieving a universal evaluation, management of victims and planning a common approach to deal with the injured.
Concurrent with the Congress an exhibition
of instruments used in disasters and emergencies including various types of emergency vehicles, containers, residential and hospital tents were held. Moreover, a variety of books and multimedia instruments about the disaster management were on display.
The congress was also honored to have guest speakers Dr. Jadidi, the head of Basij Medical Society, Mr Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the Majlis Speaker, and Major General Yahya, Rahim Safavi, the Commander of Islamic Revolution Guardian and Basij Corps, whose outstanding cooperation in relation to the Bam and Lorestan earth quakes were of great value. They mentioned that Iran was located in a natural disaster-prone area, and stipulated the need for organized efforts to manage natural disasters at preemptive and infliction levels.
The soaring trends in the quality of organization of the Congress including the subjects presented or discussed and the objectives achieved, helped provide main opportunities for discussion, consider current critical approaches and suggest new strategies for the management of natural disasters.