The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Libyan Ministry of Health and the Libyan Red Crescent held a two-day seminar in Tripoli on 5 and 6 December to train 120 doctors from different parts of Libya to treat wounds caused by mines, bullets, shrapnel and other weapons.
The seminar focused on enhancing the surgical skills of Libyan surgeons working for the Ministry of Health, who treat casualties of armed conflict with often-limited resources. Leading Libyan surgeons and other doctors joined ICRC specialists in providing theoretical and practical instructions. “Topics covered included trauma surgery, weapon wounds, first aid, coping with massive influxes of casualties, and the rights and obligations of medical personnel under international humanitarian law,” said Bernadette Gleeson, the ICRC health delegate in Tripoli.
Katharina Ritz, head of the ICRC delegation in Libya speaks on the training, saying ‘This has been the sixth surgical seminar the ICRC has organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Health in Libya. Recent violence in Tripoli, Benghazi and other cities shows the need for this kind of training,” explaining that “Such events enable surgeons to provide better treatment for people with weapon wounds.” The seminar is an opportunity for leading Libyan surgeons to exchange experiences and best practices with ICRC specialists. In addition, they discuss the problems they face when treating casualties of armed conflict or violence, often with limited resources.
Over the last 150 years, the ICRC has acquired tremendous expertise in caring for victims of armed conflict under difficult conditions, particularly where the health system has been severely disrupted.
In Libya, the ICRC is visiting detainees, tracing missing persons, working with the LRCS to help people injured or displaced by violence and training their volunteers on the dangers of explosive remnants of war. It is also stimulating compliance with IHL and universal humanitarian principles, by promoting these rules with the Libyan authorities and providing expertise on their teaching and integration to the Libyan army and security forces.