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Report of the 41st ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine


41st ICMM World Congress
on Military Medicine

Bali, Indonesia
May 17-22, 2015




The 41st ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine was organized in the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre, Bali, Indonesia, from the 18th to the 22nd of May, 2015 by the Indonesian Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Surgeon General of the Indonesian Defence Force, the Indonesian Military Medicine Association (IMMA) and the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM).

The topics were:
- Health aspects of protecting the health condition of armed forces personnel,
- Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,
- Chemical-Biological-Radiological and Nuclear threats: medical management,
- Emerging infection diseases and re-emerging diseases in specific military population,
- Environmental and preventive medicine,
- Emergency management of battlefield injuries,
- Military health education and training,
- Military health promotion and rehabilitation.

On May the 18th, the congresswas inaugurated by the Vice-President of the Republic ofIndonesia, Mr Muhammad Jusuf KALLA and the keynote lecture was given by the Minister of Defence of Indonesia, General TNI (ret) Ryamizard RYACUDU. The Congress was attended by 750 participants representing 80 ICMM Member and Observer States.

The medical exhibition organized on the occasion of the 41st ICMM World Congress on Military Medical, was inaugurated by the Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr Muhammad Jusuf KALLA.

The following main topics were discussed in 4 Plenary Sessions:
1. Ebola haemorrhagic disease as a novel virus in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,
2. Peace keeping force in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation,
3. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards in military personnel,
4. Combat casualties care and war surgery.

There were also 24 sessions of satellite symposia, 8 workshops, 5 round table discussions, 7 'meet the experts' presentations, 16 sessions with presentations of free papers and 15 categories of poster presentations.

In the scientific sessions presentations were given by 148 speakers from 30 ICMM member states, presenting various interesting topics in Military Medicine. Free papers and posters were presented by 199 authors. In total, 440 abstracts were delivered during the congress.

The 41st ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine was accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME), granting 20 European CME credits (ECMEC). The congress was also accredited by the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), the Indonesian Dentist Association (PDGI), the Indonesian Nurse Association (PPNI) and the Indonesian Pharmacist Association (IAI).

During the closing ceremony on Friday, the 22nd of May, the Jules Voncken Prize for the best scientific article published in the International Review of the Armed Forces Medical Services (IRAFMS) was awarded to Brigadier General Hafiz SAMMA from Bangladesh for his article; "Outbreak of Acute Viral Hepatitis E among Bangladesh Armed Forces Personnel of Chittagong Area" (Vol. 86/3, pp. 12-18), and the William S. Bainbridge Prize for the best poster presentation during the World Congress was awarded to Colonel Riadh ALLANI from Tunisia for his poster on "Tunisian Humanitarian Assistance to Kosovar Refugees: Benefit of a Precursor Pre-deployment Element".

As cultural part of the congress, our Indonesian hosts organized an Icebreaker party on Sunday evening, the 17th of May, a Gala dinner on Tuesday evening the 19th of May. On Wednesday, the 20th of May, the participants could take part in various cultural events.

At the General Assembly which was held on the occasion of the World Congress, India was elected as the country organizing the 42nd ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine.

The ICMM is very grateful to the Minister of Defence and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, to the Surgeon General of the Indonesian Defence Force and his team, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee and his team, the Chairman of the Scientific Committee and his team and to all the people who made this 41st ICMM World Congress of Military Medicine very successful.


The scientific committee of the congress chose to organize plenary sessions with invited international experts. These sessions were followed by symposia, workshops, roundtables and free papers sessions on the same topics.

The 2014 Ebola haemorrhagic fever in West Africa mobilized a wide range of actors, among them, the national forces from the affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and international contingents providing logistic and/or medical support. Some military field hospitals, treatment and training centres had been set up. Among numerous lessons learned one of the most important was the need of well trained teams.

Although Ebola fever is not an actual threat for countries from the Asian region, it has been reminded that this region was already affected by other important epidemics such as Nipah virus disease outbreak, SARS and that different forms of influenza remain the main concern for this region and also for the entire world. In infectious diseases outbreaks, best results are achieved when alert and countermeasures are raised early. Some systems like real time surveillance are valuable tools for this purpose.

The Ebola outbreak has reminded us that humanitarian assistance was not limited in relief after disasters whether of natural or human origin. All these circumstances need to be anticipated by national policies, preparedness and training programs. It has been underlined that training may be helped today by modern communication technologies. But even with strong good willing and training some situations like a massive arrival of refugees may overwhelm national capacities of neighbouring countries as it is the case today with the Syrian crisis. Especially but not exclusively in the Middle East region, the asymmetrical nature of modern conflicts creates situations in which fundamental principles of humanity are not respected. During this congress, a special focus has been made on the need to protect health care personnel, more and more often victim of attacks in this type of conflicts. This is the purpose of the ICRC program "Healthcare in danger" to which a special session had been dedicated.

Training was also the key word emerging from CBRN sessions. Skills and materials have to be repeatedly assessed through field exercises as realistic as possible. These trainings should include also non medical factors as coordination, leadership and communications between the teams. But most of the time we must acknowledge that emergency teams are trained to care for a limited number of victims. The issue would be very different in the case of much more patients. In such a difficult task, international cooperation and sharing of knowledge based on lessons learned would be very useful and perfectly fitting with ICMM objectives.

Obviously, it is impossible to organize a congress on military medicine without animportant part dedicated to war casualties’ healthcare and war surgery. Some countries having participated in recent conflicts in the Middle East andCentral Asia have created centres for training and clinical research on these topics. By this way some major improvements have been performed these last years, with benefits for wounded soldiers but also for civilian population cared by emergency teams and trauma centres. Once more; lessons learned by military medicine during conflicts benefits to all the citizens. This includes also the less known but paramount chapter of rehabilitation.

It would be overconfident within such a short report to summarize all the diversity and wealth of a congress in which all the aspects of military medicine have been addressed including naval and aerospace medicine, logistic and economic issues, ethical dilemmas, dental, pharmaceutics and veterinary aspects as well as the growing part of nurses and paramedics’ tasks on the field. Besides the four plenary sessions described above, 24 satellite symposia; 8 workshops, 5 roundtables, 7 meet the expert sessions and 16 free papers sessions have been held. With 105 posters presented we had in total 440 titles abstracts delivered.

An important participation of young officers from the host country has been noticed which is a good sign of dynamism.

We hope that the improvement of the scientific contents noticed during this congress will incite other countries to participate in our next activities.

From May 17 to 22, we were informed of the activities by the publication of a daily newspaper:
1 - May 17, 2015
2 - May 18, 2015
3 - May 19, 2015
4 - May 20, 2015
5 - May 21, 2015
6 - May 22, 2015

Slideshow presentation of the 41st ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine