Medical Support to Demining Operations

  • Version
    Ed. 2
  • Creation
    20 Jul 2020

IMAS 10.10 outlines the responsibilities of the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), employers and employees for providing and maintaining a safe work environment. This goal is achieved through the development of safe work practices and operating procedures, effective supervision and control, appropriate education and training for both men and women, safe equipment and the provision of effective and suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

These measures will reduce the likelihood of harm, but there will always be the potential for accidents to occur in environments contaminated with explosive hazards. Demining organisations and employees must therefore be properly trained and equipped to respond. Demining is often conducted in an environment degraded by conflict and other humanitarian challenges, perhaps made worse through natural disasters. Under these circumstances diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, trypanosmiasis and cholera, previously kept in check by national medical control measures, can again become widespread.

Developing a capacity to provide an appropriate response to a demining accident requires good planning, well trained staff and the availability of medical services able to provide effective emergency treatment. Notwithstanding the legal and moral obligations placed on managers to provide the best medical support possible, especially at the demining worksite, planning must acknowledge the reality of field operations. In explosive ordnance-affected countries suffering from post-conflict trauma, the medical facilities will often be limited, and overstretched. In these circumstances, mine action authorities and demining organisations should be as medically self-sufficient as possible in providing on-site medical support and training staff to meet the necessary competences.

New trauma treatment methodologies have been developed, and are now widely accepted, since this document was last issued. These have been discussed by a technical working group considering clinical competences under the umbrella of this document. More detailed sections on assessing a host nation’s medical facilities and occupational health have been added to acknowledge the gradual increase in best practices across the sector.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is compiling a set of minimum standards for pre-hospital care worldwide. It is anticipated that these will become the key normative reference for this document. The standards were work in progress at the time this document went to print, but associated teaching materials have been produced by WHO and these are referenced in Annex A.

The aim of this standard is to provide greater specification and guidance for the provision of appropriate medical support to demining operations in the field. The document is in three parts: Sections 1 to 3 define the scope, references and terms used in the standard; Sections 4 and 5 define the requirements, specifications and responsibilities; and the Annexes provide references and additional detailed information and guidance on how to apply the standard.

 

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