THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 12 October 2018 – Medical professionals from around the world advanced their skills in hospital care for victims of chemical weapons and other incidents involving toxic chemicals, during a course in Tehran, Iran, held from 1-5 October.
Senior Program Officer of OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Mr Shahriar Khateri, underlined in his opening speech that such training provides, “an opportunity for the participants to gain knowledge and improve their skills in providing timely and effective medical care to chemical casualties”. Mr Khateri encouraged discussion about the building blocks of “an effective medical response plan to deal with the aftermath of the chemical weapons use”.
During the training, 28 participants from 11 OPCW Member States learned about the types and health effects of different chemical warfare agents and other toxic chemicals. They also studied medical countermeasures including the treatment allocation, hospital care for chemical casualties, and responses to large-scale incidents.
At Tehran hospitals, the participants examined victims of chemical warfare who suffer from long term health effects of exposure to mustard gas during the Iran –Iraq War in the 1980s. This provided the attendees with practical insights into the treatment of such exposure related illnesses.
The training was co-organised by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran.
Starting in 2000, Iran and the OPCW have so far partnered in the organisation of ten international medical courses on assistance and protection against chemical weapons.
These courses utilise the Iranian medical community’s extensive experience in providing medical care for chemical casualties caused by the use of chemical weapons during the Iran –Iraq War.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.