Should an incident involving a toxic chemical occur, it is essential that medical personnel are ready and ready to respond. To build the capacity of leading medical experts to respond to an emergency involving toxic chemicals, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Brazilian National Authority for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) have jointly organized a regional medical training course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 23 to 27 May 2022.
The training took place at the Brazilian Air Force Hospital do Galeão (HFAG) and covered a series of crucial topics related to the provision of medical assistance during incidents involving chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals. Attendees included military and civilian doctors and other medical personnel involved in their countries’ national emergency response systems.
The content of the training included clinical aspects related to the pathophysiology, triage, diagnosis and treatment of exposed victims. Medical management of mass casualties, medical coordination of response and mitigation measures were covered. Participants also received practical training on the use of personal protective equipment. They learned how to develop and coordinate an emergency plan for the chemical casualty in the field and in hospital facilities.
Sergio Frazao Araujo, Executive Secretary of the Brazilian National Authority, said in his opening remarks: “The Brazilian National Authority remains fully committed to the objectives of the Convention and expresses its willingness to continue to cooperate with the OPCW for the disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical weapons, as well as for assistance and protection in emergencies involving chemical weapons or hazardous chemicals”
The Senior Program Officer of the OPCW’s Assistance and Protection Branch remarked, “This course brings together experts to exchange experiences and enhance capacity building to respond to events involving chemical agents. It also provides an opportunity to discuss the practical challenges encountered when setting up an effective chemical agent emergency response system.”
18 nationals and international participants from 11 OPCW Member States of the Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) region attended the course: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. The training also included an international instructor under the OPCW’s Instructor Development and Exchange Programme.
As the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 member states, oversees the global effort to eliminate chemical weapons forever. Since the Convention entered into force in 1997, it has been the most successful disarmament treaty, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 99% of all declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its tremendous efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.