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Report of the 3rd Pan European Congress of Military Medicine


Report of the 3rd ICMM Pan European
Congress of Military Medicine

Belgrade, Serbia
2-6 June, 2014



The congress took place under the auspices of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM), under the leadership of the head of the Military Health Care department, Brigadier General Prof. Zoran POPOVIC, MD, PhD, with support from Brigadier General Prof. Dr. Marijan NOVAKOVIC, Prof. Dr. Sonja RADAKOVIC, Lieutenant Colonel Prof. Dr. Nenad STEPIC and Prof. Dr. Slavica VUCINIC.

The Secretary General of ICMM, Major General Dr. Roger VAN HOOF, thanked all the people who helped organize this congress and continued to do this despite the great efforts that the military medical services of Serbia had to undertake during the recent flooding of parts of Serbia. Major General Dr. VAN HOOF reminded the audience of the role of ICMM in facilitating the exchange of information in an impartial, non-political way. He thanked the Serbian authorities for organizing such an important congress, which aims to further improve the level of military health care and to optimize the support the people entrusted with the care of the military health services. The Minister of Defense of Serbia, the honorable Mr Bratislav GASIC, in the presence of the Secretary of State, the honorable Mr Zoran DJORDJEVIC, officially opened the Congress, reiterating the importance of international cooperation and who welcomed 90 participants from 28 countries. Most attendees of course came from Europe, but there were representations from other countries from all over the world as well. The chairman of the previous PEMMC, Brigadier General DE GRAAF of The Netherlands formally handed over the chairmanship of the PEMMC and the ICMM Pan-European Regional Working Group to Brigadier General Prof Dr NOVAKOVIC.

The congress was very well organized. In parallel sessions, interesting presentations were given on development in subjects such as War Surgery, Military Medical Education, Mental Health, Nursing and on Paramedical Care. Special sessions were held on basic research, relevant to military medical care, preventive and veterinary medicine and logistics. In the congress venue, poster sessions were available on these issues as well. All these sessions offered food for thought and valuable experiences in practice of military health care were shared for the attendees to take home. Several of the papers presented during the congress will be published in the International Review of the Armed Forces Medical Services. During the meeting of the Regional Assembly of the Pan-European Working Group, the Heads of Delegations of the ICMM member states discussed possibilities for organizing the next Pan-European MMC and Regional Assembly and the program of work. Attention was given to the upcoming meeting of the International Working Group. Indonesia announced being the host for the next ICMM world congress of military medicine, 17-22 May 2015 in Bali.

The last day an impressive field trip was included in the program to the flood disaster country side. Apart from the scientific presentations, there was ample opportunity for the participants to get acquainted and to renew acquantainces. The Serbian organizers were able to convey a feel of the wonderful Serb culture and hospitality.


Scientific aspects of the 3rd ICMM Pan European Congress on Military Medicine

The scientific committee, supervised by Pr. Sonja RADUKOVIC had identified and selected high-level speakers and retained 60 scientific oral communications and 31 posters of a great interest.

For the theme of the news in War surgery, the organizers had selected communications made by authors having a field experience. The communications of Lt. Colonel G. PAVLICEVIC (Serbia) on the cranial wounds, of the Colonel I. SAMOKHVALOV (Russie) about his experience during the wars in Caucasus as well as that of Major G. MILLIAT (France) on the care of Afghan children victims of and explosion were particularly noticed. The Colonel R. RUSSELL (UK) gave a lecture very appreciated on the training for the Role 2 teams.

War psychiatry has today a special place in all the congresses on military medicine and our Serbian colleagues who had to care psychic wounds as well in the military as at the civilian population presented us their experience. A large-scale study at the helicopters teams of the British army (R. WITHNALL, UK) tried to identify resilience factors against PTSD.

The measures of fight against CBRN threats or accidents were the object of a Round Table where the participants were able to appreciate the high level of the Serbian toxicologists. Lt. Colonel V. RADOSAVLJEVIC (Serbia) presented and interesting method of analysis to differentiate a natural outbreak from a likely biologic attack. The session on infections and sepsis was the opportunity of very interesting communications from the Military Medical Academy of Belgrade.

Questions and exchanges between the participants were numerous, the challenges put by the external operations and the management of disasters being the same for all, as well as the preservation of the best quality level in spite of budgetary and personnel limitations. This sharing of experience in a friendly atmosphere was perfectly in accordance with the spirit of the ICMM.


Report of the results of the Pan European Regional Assembly, 4 June 2014, Belgrade, Serbia

After the welcome address and opening remarks by Brigadier General prof. Marijan NOVAKOVIC, the meeting of the Pan European Regional Assembly was opened with regard to membership of Pan European Regional Working Group. According to representative of the ICMM, it was confirmed that all 37 countries payed the contribution. Republic of Ireland, after formal request of col. Gerald Kerr, became a new member.

In 2010 in Russia, Svetlogorsk, the ICMM Pan European Working Group was formed, The participating nations were, France, The Netherlands, Russia, Serbia and Switzerland.
During the Regional Assembly in Amsterdam 2012, 8 European countries became new members, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
During this meeting there were delegates from 12 countries and observers from Indonesia and USA.

1. Results and conclusions from “The Second Regional Assembly” held in Amsterdam, were presented by the Netherlands Representative – Brigadier General Johan DE GRAAF.
2. The Secretary general of ICMM informed the Assembly about the results of the 40th World Congress that was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia December 7-12, 2013.
3. There was an discussion on the goals and possible activities of the Pan European Regional Working Group. Issues that were highlighted were:
• Military Surgery and Critical Care
• Medical Safety and Planning
• Military Conflicts Related Psychiatry
• Ethics and Humanitarian Law
• Complimentary topics regarding avoiding duplication

There was agreement on the subjects in the previous period and the discussion was about how to address future topics without having expensive congresses.

As a Regional Assembly has to be held every two years, it could be useful to investigate if it is possible to organize this in the same week and place as the COMEDS plenary, because the members of the European Regional Working Group are also the national representatives In COMEDS. Of course it should be clear that this is a completely separate meeting, not linked to NATO what so ever.

There was no consensus on the way aheads and the vision for the Pan European Working Group activities that need to be addressed with all its specificities.

It was highlighted that the topics are secondary issue to the lack of vision on the way aheads. It was proposed that countries willing to participate in the discussion group, including France, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium would point out the specific need for the future meetings of the Pan European Working Group.

4. Candidacy for the next Pan European Regional Congress in 2016. It was announced that France and Ireland are interested but there is not a national decision yet.
5. The observer from Indonesia invited everybody to the 41st World Congress of ICMM from 17-22 May, 2015.
6. The chairman thanked the Secretary General of ICMM, all delegates and observers for their participation in this meeting and closed the meeting at 10.30 hrs.