THE HAGUE, Netherlands – 22 October 2019 – Medical professionals from around the world developed skills for the medical management of chemical casualties during an international course on the medical aspects of assistance and protection against chemical weapons, held at the Air Force Medical University in Xi’an, China from 14 to 18 October 2019.
The course was designed to train medical professionals on advanced hospital care for victims of chemical weapons attacks and other incidents involving toxic chemicals. It covered an overview of chemical warfare agents and other toxic chemicals, as well as the concepts of medical countermeasures, triage, and mass casualty incidents.
Senior Program Officer of OPCW’s International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Mr Shahriar Khateri, remarked during his opening speech that such training provides “an opportunity for medical experts to gain knowledge and improve their skills in providing timely and effective medical care to chemical casualties”.
Participants also received practical trainings on the use of individual protection equipment and conducted a table-top exercise on emergency medical response to a chemical incident.
Deputy President of the Air Force Medical University, Senior Colonel Zhang Yonghong, stated: “China is ready to share its experience and support OPCW Member States for building capacity on effective medical response plan to deal with the aftermath of chemical weapons use”.
The course was jointly organised by the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Government of China, and was attended by 28 medical professionals from: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, India, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
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 97% percent 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.