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Report of the 9th ICMM Course for Health Support in Saharan Environment


Tozeur, South of Tunisia
November 4-8, 2019





The 9th International Course of the ICMM for the Health Support in Saharan Environment was organized by the Tunisian General Directorate of Military Health and placed under the Patronage of HE the Minister of the National Defense during the period November 4-8, 2019 in Tozeur (South of Tunisia).

This course was organized for the first time in March 2009 by decision of the 37th ICMM General Assembly held in May 2007 in Tunis (Tunisia). It has become a regular meeting for the military health personnel of the member states, with a scientific content always evolving thanks to the collaboration with the faculties of medicine of Tunis and Sfax, the faculty of pharmacy of Monastir and the Pasteur Institute of Tunis with the support of the ICMM General Secretariat and the different Tunisian Armies’ Staff.

The scientific and cultural program, now well established, has always given pride of place to the practical workshops (two-thirds of the hourly volume). A special place was allocated to the survival workshop in the Saharan environment and to the bivouac, which is an opportunity for participants to spend 24 hours on the ground in extreme conditions with a night in a camp.

The scientific program was articulated in 5 modules covering the pathologies related to the heat, the pathologies related to the environment, the scorpionic envenomations and snake bites, the role of the armies’ health service in Saharan environment and the initiation training to cutaneous leishmaniasis. Lectures and field activities were given in French or English, with good simultaneous translation into both languages.

The 25 students were physicians, nurses and logisticians coming from Cote d’Ivoire (1), Germany (2), Spain (1), Nigeria (3), Oman (1), Qatar (3), Tunisia (12) and United Arab Emirates (2). The lecturers and evaluators came from Belgium, France and Tunisia.

The course was perfectly organized and the organizers did not spare any efforts to facilitate the arrival of the participants, the lecturers and the ICMM Deputy Secretary General to this remote region of Tunisia by assisting them since their arrival on Tunisian soil until their departure back home. Military flights for the transfer to and from Tozeur were made available. Others air assets were provided by Tunisian armed forces for the purposes of medical evacuation during the field exercise and for the possible needs of real health support in case of an accident.

The quality of the programme content was extremely high and there were many opportunities for the audience to become actively involved, thanks to the excellent instructional technique of the instructors and the practical exercises. Evaluation forms were submitted after each conference to evaluate all aspects of teaching. They were analyzed by the evaluation committee in order to improve the quality of the next sessions of the course.

The organizing committee hopes that the participants will relay the most important lessons learned as well as their experience gained from the practical exercises to their superiors and that they will recommend this course to other military or civilian health personnel in their countries.