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Report of the 5th ICMM Pan European Congress on Military Medicine


Warsaw, Poland
17-20 September 2018



The 5th Regional ICMM Congress on Military Medicine and Regional Assembly of the Pan-European Regional Working Group of the ICMM was organized by the Military Health Service of Poland in Warsaw, between 17-20 September, 2018, under the patronage of Mrs. Aurelia OSTROWSKA, Ph.D., Director of Military Medical Service and Major General Professor Grzegorz GIELERAK, MD., Ph.D., Deputy Director.

The Congress was held in Hotel Mariott in the very centre of Polish vibrant capital city.

The main theme of the Congress was:
Military Medicine - New Challenges in the Changing World.

This leading topic was broadly and profoundly discussed within 7 more specifically oriented sessions:
• Combat medicine in military operations.
• Military surgery and critical care in terrorist attacks.
• Military psychiatry and mental rehabilitation in contemporary conflicts.
• Infectious diseases and vaccinology in the armed forces.
• Veterinary in the armed forces.
• Aviation medicine, aeromedical evacuation.
• Medical support and organization.

A special E-poster session was organized with presentations of works available on TV screens for all participants at any time during the Congress. 146 participants were registered representing 26 countries, including 18 European. Other than European countries present were: China, India, Lebanon, Iran, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, USA. 41 reports and 10 electronic posters were presented.

The Congress started on Monday evening, 17 September by a Welcome cocktail where Dr. OSTROWSKA and her military colleagues personally welcomed all participants. The Opening ceremony followed next morning. The participants were addressed by Dr. Aurelia OSTROWSKA who expressed pleasure and honour for Poland and its Ministry of Defence to organize this event. Secretary General of the ICMM Major General (ret.) Dr. Roger VAN HOOF gave a short overview of the ICMM activities since the previous 4th ICMM Pan-European Congress in Paris, stressing the tasks and importance of 6 regional Working Groups within the ICMM.

The ICMM is offering a professional platform for all specializations within the military health care systems (beside physicians, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, nurses and medics, medical operational and organizational personnel etc.). These meetings are unique opportunities to exchange practical experiences, scientific and research knowledge, to strengthen personal contacts between Surgeons General and other colleagues in military medicine. After that address, the official transfer of the Pan-European WG chairmanship followed - General Patrick GODART, France, forwarded the Medal of the Chairman to Mrs. OSTROWSKA, who later on appointed Colonel Dr. Slawomir CHMIEL to be new Polish National Delegate to the ICMM and a new Chairman of the Pan-European Regional Working Group at the same time. The scientific programme followed then during all days in morning- and afternoon sessions. Presentations, mostly of very high quality were followed by vital discussions in each session according to the main topics. These reflected the close connections of military medicine with the military and disaster environment. Military medicine is up-to-date with progress in medicine, including research and technology development having often priorities. Military medical support for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as co-ordinated tasks of military medical services in terrorist attack situations are becoming more and more actual. For example according to the UNO Medical Office in the year 2018, 14 Peace keeping operations (PKO) around the globe have been active, in which 124 contributing countries sent 89 113 uniformed personnel, being supported by 283 health care facilities.

The scientific programme was fittingly enriched by 2 practical workshops - demonstrations of activities and capabilities of the Polish Institute of Military Medicine in Warsaw. The brand new hyperbaric chamber installed in 2017, was demonstrated. It can be used for 16 sitting patients at one session and the space can also be adapted for ICU patients (artificially ventilated etc.) at any time. The chamber serves to military personnel as well as to civilian population according to medical indications. Then the participants could observe the new Simulation Centre in action demonstrating triage, admission and emergency care of 2 severely injured "patients“. The Centre is used for practical training of medicals students, young physicians and nurses in emergency care. All activities are supervised and taped by an instructor, and later on in form of debriefing, analyzed, explained and tought by the instructor. The Congress participants were thankful to the organizers for offering them the opportunity to visit both highly sophisticated departments.

During all days of the Congress, an exhibition of industrial and pharmaceutical companies in vicinity of the lecture rooms was organized. This was a good opportunity to see, test and discuss the latest trends in equipment technology and other kind of support in the field of military medicine. There is an obvious trend for computerization, digitalization and miniaturization of products which, at the same time, should be transportable, easy to move and resistable to different environments. The highest quality of used materials is a prerequisite of that.

The entire Congress showed high level of current military medicine with all its specificities and tasks. It was very useful for all participants to share, compare and discuss different experiences and approaches in solving problems. There are many areas to be elaborated on, e.g. military medical training and education, operational and logistic issues, transportation, CBRN topics, mental health, PTSD and psychology etc. The overall friendly atmosphere of the Congress was well appreciated by all participants. The Gala dinner on 19 September reflected this fact as the highest point of the social part of the meeting. The Congress itself ended on Thursday, 20 September at noon, by a final summarizing report and closing remarks of Colonel Prof. KORZENIEWSKI, Chairman of the Scientific Committee. The Secretary-General of the ICMM, Major General (ret.) VAN HOOF thanked to organizers for preparing such an excellent Congress. He also thanked to all participants from Europe as well as from countries from other continents. He encouraged all participants and representatives of ICMM member countries to come and participate in the next 43rd and 44th ICMM World Congresses to be held in May, 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, and in 2021 in Belgium respectively (a centennial Congress).

The Department of the Military Medical Service of Ministry of National Defence and Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland, succeeded in organizing a successful and highly interesting Pan-European Regional Congress including the Regional Assembly of the ICMM Pan-European Working Group.

ICMM is very grateful to the Director of Military Medical Service and her staff for this organization.