THE HAGUE, Netherlands—6 April 2022—The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) organised the first basic course on assistance and protection against chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals for nursing personnel in coordination with the National Chemical Weapons Authority of Panama. The course was held virtually from 21 March to 1 April.
Should a major incident involving chemicals occur, frontline nurses must have the knowledge and capacity to care for victims. This course was designed specifically for nurses, conscious of job responsibilities should a large-scale incident involving chemical warfare agents or toxic industrial chemicals take place. The course emphasised a hospital’s initial management of victims exposed to chemical substances and included e-learning as well as interactive virtual group sessions.
Masterclasses and on-the-ground experiences was shared by instructors from Spain’s CBRN (Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) Defence Military School and Gómez Ulla Military Hospital, in cooperation with experts from Panama’s Ministry of Health, the University of Panama, and the Meritorious Fire Department.
Ms Maria Ines Esquivel, Coordinator of the Panama National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, stated: “Through this initiative, we have experienced the effort, professionalism, and commitment of the OPCW Technical Secretariat and the National Authority of Spain. They followed through on proposals made by Member States and organised this important first course for nurses.”
The course was attended by 23 nurses from Panama.
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 99% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.