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Medics prepare for disaster response

October 11, 2013

11 October 2013

Health service personnel, including some military reservist doctors and nurses, participated in an intensive 3-day intensive specialist course for those who may be deployed to international disaster zones worldwide. The training, which attracted participants from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain, was held in the United Nations Training School Ireland in the Curragh camp in Co. Kildare.  The course was sponsored and organised by the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) cross border health partnership on behalf of Irish Aid and the Department of Defence and included participants from a range of agencies contributing to humanitarian actions, in addition to the HSE and the National Ambulance Services.

Pictured above: Health Service participants in the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) cross border Humanitarian Disaster Assistance Course held in the United Nations Training School Ireland, the Curragh, Co. Kildare. From left: Brendan Lawlor, Chief Emergency Management Officer, Health Service Executive (Dublin North East), Republic of Ireland; Ray Nethercott, Consultant Paediatrician, Western Health and Social Care Trust Health (Northern Ireland) and Macartan Hughes, Head of Education & Competency Assurance, National Ambulance Service College, Republic of Ireland.

The training was delivered by the Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine which is part of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London and is acknowledged as one of the leading training organisations in the field of humanitarian response training. The training covered a range of health related issues associated with humanitarian response and included disasters in an urban environment, refugee basic needs, humanitarian response, planning and risk assessments and communicable diseases, epidemiology and medical air evacuation of casualties. All of the topics addressed are applicable to the healthcare requirements of humanitarian and disaster situations internationally.

Commenting, Dr. Ambrose McLoughlin, Secretary General at the Department of Health said: “I want to acknowledge the work that went into planning and managing this highly specialist training course. Once again CAWT, the cross border health services partnership, has brought together medical personnel from both North and South and wider afield to train together. Ultimately this course has strengthened the skills of clinicians and doctors which can be used either at home or abroad.”

Director General of CAWT, Tom Daly, who observed the training said: “Such specialist courses are valuable because they enable our medical doctors and health care professionals from both sides of the border to engage in practical training alongside each other. Our support for this event is just part of the work of the CAWT cross border partnership, which comprises the health services in both jurisdictions.  Our role is to improve access to health services and to facilitate greater integration between both health services in the border area.”

Twenty six participants successfully completed the course from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.