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NATO Leads International Maritime Medicine Conference

BERGEN, Norway – Medical care for sailors at sea was the focus of the 21st NATO Maritime Medical Conference, hosted by the Royal Norwegian Navy and led by Allied Maritime Command.

Navy Surgeons General and other senior medical personnel, from 25 nations (Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America), representing NATO, Partners and other nations, presented and discussed naval medicine topics over four days focused on themes of common interest to the maritime medical community.

China, Ukraine and Thailand were represented for the first time, contributing with presentations on their naval medical service which were highly appreciated by all participants.

MARCOM Assistant Chief of Staff Support, Rear Admiral Nihat Baran (Turkish Navy) delivered the opening remarks. Admiral Baran has underlined the importance of MARCOM role’s as Maritime Advocate and for the importance of medical cooperation in a period of economic challenges affecting most navies.

"Improving networking and sharing knowledge and best practices in the Maritime Medical domain are key factors to increase cooperation and simultaneously insure the best treatment to our sailors at sea.” said Captain Filippo la Rosa, Medical Advisor to MARCOM and chair of the NATO Maritime Medical Conference. "The success of this conference is steadily growing, along with its importance over the years.”

Some of the representatives attending the conference provided their national medical updates as well as presented on MEDVAC (medical evacuation) challenges for maritime medical support. Telemedicine was seen as a common interest due to growing relevance as a modern naval medical capability.

In conjunction with the medical conference, the 45th Medical Naval Panel Plenary took place, serving as a forum to discuss naval medicine and adjust NATO doctrine. In addition to the plenary, the presentations, networking and in-depth break out discussions offered many topics for attendees to discuss with their medical teams.

Next year in Cork, the Republic of Ireland will host the Conference, between 25th-29th of March 2019.

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