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Report of the 9th Regional Assembly of the Pan-Arab Regional Working Group of Military Medicine and of the 6th Regional Assembly of the Maghrebian Regional Working Group of Military Medicine

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REPORT OF THE 9th REGIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PAN-ARAB REGIONAL WORKING GROUP
OF MILITARY MEDICINE

AND

OF THE 6th REGIONAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE MAGHREBIAN REGIONAL WORKING GROUP OF MILITARY MEDICINE

VIDEOCONFERENCE

Tunisia
9-10 February 2021

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Report of the 9th Regional Assembly of the Pan-Arab Regional Working Group of Military Medicine and of the 6th Regional Assembly of the Maghrebian Regional Working Group of Military Medicine

 

The Military Health Service of Tunisia organized concomitantly the Regional Assemblies of the Pan-Arab and Maghrebian Regional Working Groups (RWG) of Military Medicine on 09 and 10 February 2021. This meeting was held by videoconference due to the epidemiological situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and was placed under the patronage of SE Minister of National Defense of Tunisia and under the aegis of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM).

The meeting was co-chaired by Brigadier General MD Mustapha FERJANI, Director General of Military Health of Tunisia, President of the Pan-Arab and Maghrebian RWG of Military Medicine, and Major General MD Geert LAIRE, ICMM Secretary General.

The first day was dedicated to discuss the progress of the preparations for the upcoming regional military medical congresses and international courses, the activation of the Pan Arab RWG scientific committee and the development of cooperation in the field of scientific research. The second day was dedicated to scientific exchanges and experiences related to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the military community and the support of the armed forces to the national effort.

Delegates and heads of delegations from 12 member states were present; Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Also attended the President of the ICMM Scientific Council and some other members of the ICMM General Secretariat Office, Representatives of WHO and international partner organizations.

At the opening of the session, the Regional Secretary of the Pan-Arab RWG of Military Medicine, Senior Colonel MD Riadh ALLANI, recalled the meeting's points of interest and referred the speech to delegates and heads of member states’ delegation to introduce themselves and present the composition of their delegations.

In his speech, Brigadier General MD Mustapha FERJANI starts by welcoming the guests and thanking the participants in this event and through them the delegates of their countries. He praised the efforts made to consolidate and support the role of the Arab and Maghreb countries in the promotion of the activities of the International Committee of Military Medicine. He insisted on the need to continue developing cooperation within the Pan-Arab and Maghrebian RWGs in the field of continuous professional development and scientific research by recalling the main activities carried out during the presidency of Tunisia.

Major General MD Geert LAIRE, for its part, underlined the role of regional working groups in the promotion of military medicine and the development of cooperation between the Member States, which takes into account the specific needs of the countries of each region. He also referred to the role of the ICMM in preventing and responding to biological risks and threats, whether they be epidemics or terrorist threats. He stressed the need to work more to improve intervention capacities by intensifying training opportunities in these areas.

Acting in its capacity of vice-president of the Maghrebian RWG, Major General MD Abdelkader BENDJELLOUL, Central Director of Health Services of the Armed Forces of Algeria, in turn welcomed the efforts made within the group to develop further training activities in fields of military medicine. He stressed the need to work to adopt videoconferencing techniques to ensure the sustainability of these training activities, given the global epidemiological situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior Colonel MD Brahim ALMOSTARCHED, representative of the Kingdom of Morocco has confirmed the candidacy of his country to the presidency of the Pan Arab and Maghreb RWG of Military Medicine. He informed that his country was well prepared to organize the 9th Pan-Arab and 6th Maghrebian Congresses of Military Medicine, which were supposed to happen in Rabat in October 2020. The epidemiological situation of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the organization of this congress on time. He proposed reschedule the event later in the year following the organization of the World Congress of Military Medicine in accordance with the rules of the ICMM.

Brigadier General Khalid Mohammed Abdel Aziz Ahmed AL-KHOULI, representative of Egypt highlighted the preparations made by his country for the organization of the 12th Pan-African Congress of Military Medicine. It was initially planned from November 28 to December 1, 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic led to its postponement. New dates will be fixed in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the ICMM in the year following the organization of the World Congress of Military Medicine.

Senior Colonel MD Riadh ALLANI, Regional Secretary of the Pan-Arab RWG of Military Medicine, then presented a lecture on the international courses and congress conducted by the country members during the two last years of the presidency of Tunisia under the aegis of the ICMM. He stressed the need to include communication technology to ensure virtual participation when necessary, considering the epidemiological situation witnessed all over the world. He also reported the results of the last Pan-Arab RWG delegates and head of delegations’ meeting held during 2019 in Basel, Switzerland.

Delegates agreed to activate the Group Scientific Committee and promote scientific research and stressed the need to discuss the mechanisms of its activation. Delegates proposed that the Saudi side should chair this committee for a term (duration to be defined) and this as initiated at the 2015 Jeddah meeting. The Scientific Research Center of the Saudi Armed Forces Medical Services would have to support the committee in the selection of priority research subjects for the RWG and in the funding of their implementation, in cooperation with the Member States.

The General MD Humbert BOISSEAUX, President of the ICMM's Scientific Council, chaired the "Military Medicine at the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic" day. In his inaugural lecture, he underlined the importance of the role of the military physician in crisis situations in general and in the time of COVID-19 especially. The General MD Louis LILLYWHITE, former Director of Military Health of the United Kingdom and representative of Chatham House and Mr. Ludy SURYANTORO representative of the World Health Organization had communicated on the importance of and ways to advance civil-military collaboration in the health field to strengthen health emergency preparedness. Speakers from eight Arab countries shared the experience of their military health services and highlighted measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic in military settings or as part of the armed forces' support to the national effort in their countries. More than 100 medical and para-medical, military and civilian personnel from Tunisia had attended this scientific day.