World Health Organization launches mass casualty management (MCM) training series targeting major public hospitals in Gaza Strip and West Bank – Occupied Palestinian Territory
December 23, 2021 – With the generous support of the Humanitarian Fund of the Occupied Territories, European Union Humanitarian Aid and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) completed the first of a series of training sessions on mass casualty management for the emergency department of Shifa hospital in Gaza. It is the first of its kind in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The training aimed at high-level representation of the hospital and included the general manager of the hospital, the heads of emergency and surgical departments, and the administration of the medical complex.
The occupied Palestinian territory has faced numerous conflicts in densely populated urban areas, often with large numbers of civilian casualties. Recently, this manifested itself with more than 2,200 injured in the Gaza Strip and 261 deaths over an 11-day period1 during the escalation of hostilities in May 2021, exceeding the 36,143 injured and 214 deaths already existing as a result of the great 15-month return march. demonstrations 2.
WHO proactively supports building the capacity of the public health system to manage large numbers of casualties at the same time beyond the usual capacity of the system. This will be made possible by improving emergency preparedness and response by expanding the knowledge, attitude, practice and concepts of mass casualty management at the emergency department level and by collectively addressing the cycle comprehensive mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
Commenting on its importance, Dr Mohammed Attar, Head of Emergency Unit at General Hospital Administration and active participant in Mass Casualty Management training, said: âTraining is a priority and a dream for us. We are convinced that the emergency system in hospitals urgently needs this kind of knowledge and practices â.
Palestinian medical officials have been trained to handle a large influx of mass casualty incidents, bridging systemic gaps in dealing with mass casualties. With this unprecedented activity, the World Health Organization has initiated a process to establish minimum standard operating procedures for MCM at the emergency department level.
The training was planned, organized and delivered by certified WHO MCM experts, with technical support from the WHO Academy and in coordination with the TOpAT Trauma Operational and Advisory Team of the Regional Office of the WHO. The training course will be delivered at major public hospitals in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Dr Mohammed Attar added: âIf it continues and its protocols are adopted, the training will positively affect the emergency services. Our gratitude goes to the WHO team (Dr Gargavanis, Dr Abu Teir and Dr Abu Olwan) for their continued support â.
For more information
Raghda Abu Shahla
Kazem Abu Khalaf
1 OCHA oPt: The Humanitarian Bulletin | Gaza after May – November 2021 escalation
2 Two years later: those injured and traumatized during the âGreat March of Returnâ are still struggling