ICRC war surgery seminar in Colombo

[TamilNet, Friday, 15 June 2001, 21:10 GMT]
"Since its establishment 138 years ago, the main goal of the ICRC has been to assist and protect, as a neutral intermediary, the victims of armed conflict. The ICRC bases its mandate on rules of international humanitarian law, the rules of war, which it has helped to develop and promote, and which have culminated in the four Geneva conventions and their Additional Protocols. The Geneva Conventions have been ratified by 189 states (including Sri Lanka) , which makes these humanitarian provisions the most widely recognised body of international law" said the head of Delegation, ICRC Colombo, Ms. Isabelle Barras, in her welcome address at the 2-day 'seminar on War Surgery' which opened in Colombo Friday.

Present in more than 60 countries, ICRC carries out its humanitarian tasks on the basis of a strict respect of the principles of imapartiality, neutrality and independence," she said.

"For the first time Medical Services of the Sri Lankan Army, the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have joined together to share their knowledge, skills and experiences, acquired in the management of battle casualties. The 2- day seminar is intended to enable the over 100 participants to upgrade their knowledge and skills in the recent advancements in the treatment of war wounded", an ICRC spokesman told TamilNet.

Topics to be discussed include First Aid, Resuscitation, Triage, Amputations, Prostheses and the management of different war wounds. The resource pesons are surgeons from the Sri Lanka army's Military Hospital, the National Hospital, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital, Eye Hospital, the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, and from the ICRC.

Referring to ICRCís worlwide medical programme, Ms.Barras pointed out that last year the ICRC fully assisted- providing all medicines, surgical material and equipment- to 16 hospitals in Asia and Africa.These establishments received 45,085 patients,performing 50,497 operations and provided more than 245,000 out- patient consultations. ICRC hopes to improve management and treatment of war wounded by offering assistance in material and equipment when necessary, training as neeeded, and the dispatch of ICRC surgical teams in extreme cases.

The Commander of the SLA, Lt-General Lionel P.Balagalle, in his address as Chief Guest, said since the inception the ICRC has had as its focus assistance to the victims of amed conflict. Warring parties all over the world should be grateful to the ICRC for such assistance, he added.

dr-chris_giannou_150601.jpgDr A.M.L. Beligaswatte, Director General of Health Services of the Ministry of Health, was the Guest of Honour at the seminar.

Dr. Chris Giannou, Coordinator of Surgical Activities and Head of Surgical Unit, ICRC Geneva, said ? This kind of seminar has become a very important part of ICRC?s surgical activities, where we join with our senior colleagues in diffrent countries of the world, to assist in the training of young surgeons who are faced very often for the first time in their lives, with a very different pathology, quite different from the usual trauma one sees in road accidents, household or industrial injuries, instead brought about by the wepons of war. Hopefully, the outcome of the seminar would be the improvement of the surgical care of the war wounded in Sri Lanka".


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